Understanding Politics: Ideas, Institutions, and Issues

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Understanding Politics: Ideas, Institutions, and Issues

Understanding Politics Ideas, Institutions, and Issues 9e THOMAS M. MAGSTADT, Ph.D. European Studies Program Universit

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Understanding

Politics Ideas, Institutions, and Issues 9e

THOMAS M. MAGSTADT, Ph.D. European Studies Program University of Kansas

Australia • Brazil • Japan • Korea • Mexico • Singapore • Spain • United Kingdom • United States

Understanding Politics: Ideas, Institutions, and Issues, Ninth Edition Thomas M. Magstadt Senior Publisher: Suzanne Jeans Acquisitions Editor: Edwin Hill Development Editor: Elisa Adams Assistant Editor: Kate MacLean

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Printed in the United States of America 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 14 13 12 11 10

B R I E F

PREFACE

C O N T E N T S

XII

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

XIX

1 Introduction: The Study of Politics

2

2 The Idea of the Public Good: Ideologies and Isms

26

PART 1 COMPARATIVE POLITICAL SYSTEMS: MODELS AND THEORIES 3 Utopias: Model States

55

56

4 Constitutional Democracy: Models of Representation 5 The Authoritarian Model: Myth and Reality 6 The Totalitarian Model: False Utopias

112

138

PART 2 ESTABLISHED AND EMERGING DEMOCRACIES 7 Parliamentary Democracy

78

169

170

8 States and Economies in Transition: Between Democracy and Yesterday

218

9 The Other World: Development or Anarchy? 260 PART 3 POLITICS BY CIVIL MEANS: CITIZENS, LEADERS, AND POLICIES 10 Political Socialization: The Making of a Citizen

297

298

11 Political Participation: The Price of Influence 326 12 Political Leadership: The Many Faces of Power

364

13 Issues in Public Policy: Principles, Priorities, and Practices

396

PART 4 POLITICS BY VIOLENT MEANS: REVOLUTION, WAR, AND TERRORISM 14 Revolution: In the Name of Justice 15 Terrorism: Weapon of the Weak 16 War: Politics by Other Means

439

440

466

500

iii

iv

Brief Contents

PART 5 POLITICS WITHOUT GOVERNMENT

537

17 International Relations: The Struggle for Power

538

18 International Organization(s): Globalization and the Quest for Order ENDNOTES

615

GLOSSARY

649

INDEX

670

576

C

PREFACE

O

N

T

xii

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

xix

Basic Concepts of Politics Power 4 Order 6 Justice 11

2

4

Review Questions

16

24

2 The Idea of the Public Good: Ideologies and Isms 26 Political Ends and Means

51

Key Terms

52 52 52

3 Utopias: Model States

56

Plato’s Republic: Philosophy is the Answer The Just City 59 The Noble Lie 62

24

Recommended Reading

S

PART 1 COMPARATIVE POLITICAL SYSTEMS: MODELS AND THEORIES 55

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 22 24

Summary

Review Questions

Why Study Politics? 20 Self-Interest 20 The Public Interest 20

Key Terms

T

Recommended Reading

How We Study Politics 12 For What Purposes? 12 By What Methods? 13 The Political (Science) Puzzle

23

N

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 50

1 Introduction: The Study of Politics

Summary

E

28

Ideologies and the Public Good 29 Antigovernment Ideologies 30 Ideologies of the Right 31 Ideologies of the Left 37 Ideologies and Politics in the United States 41 The Uses and Abuses of Labels 41 Common Themes 42 Conservatives: The Primacy of Economic Rights 42 Liberals: The Primacy of Civil Rights 45 Essential Differences 46 The “Values Divide” and the War on Terror 46 Conservatives, Liberals, and Public Policy 48 Choosing Sides 49

58

Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis: Science is the Answer 63 Karl Marx’s Classless Society: Economics is the Answer 65 The Centrality of Economics 65 The Road to Paradise 66 The Classless Society 67 B. F. Skinner’s Walden Two: Psychology is the Answer 68 The Good Life 68 The Science of Behavioral Engineering 69 The Behavioral Scientist as God 70 Utopia Revisited 70 Utopia and Human Nature 71 Utopia and the Rejection of Politics Dystopia: From Dream to Nightmare Orwell’s World 73 Utopia and Terrorism 73

72 72

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 74 Summary

74

Key Terms

75

Review Questions

75

Recommended Reading

76

v

vi

Contents

4 Constitutional Democracy: Models of Representation 78 Liberal Democracy: Models and Theories Republics and Constitutions

80

82

The Idea of America 82 Four Models of American Democracy 84 Alexander Hamilton: Federalism 85 Thomas Jefferson: Anti-Federalism 87 James Madison: Balanced Government 89 John C. Calhoun: Brokered Government 91 Back to Basics: Federalism and the Separation of Powers 93 Tocqueville: The Tyranny of the Majority John Locke: The Rule of Law

98

100

Constitutionalism and Due Process

101

Remodeling Democracy: Have It Your Way 102 The Future of Democracy: Nationalism or Cosmopolitanism? 105 Cosmopolitan Democracy 105 Democracy in a New World Order 106

108

Key Terms

109

Review Questions

110

Recommended Reading

110

5 The Authoritarian Model: Myth and Reality 112 The Virtues of Authoritarianism The Vices of Authoritarian Rulers

114 115

The Characteristics of Authoritarian States 119 The Politics of Authoritarianism

The Future of Authoritarianism

131

Authoritarianism and U.S. Foreign Policy

120

Authoritarianism in Practice: A Tale of Two Countries 120 Zimbabwe 121 Nigeria 123 Authoritarianism in Theory: Myth versus Reality 125 Myth 1: Authoritarianism Is a Sign of the Times 125 Myth 2: Authoritarian Rulers Are Always Tyrannical 126

132

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 134 Summary

135

Key Terms

136

Review Questions

136

Recommended Reading

136

6 The Totalitarian Model: False Utopias 138 The Essence of Totalitarianism

141

The Revolutionary Stage of Totalitarianism Leadership 142 Ideology 142 Organization 145 Propaganda 147 Violence 148

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 107 Summary

Myth 3: Authoritarian Rulers Are Never Legitimate 127 Myth 4: Authoritarian Rulers Are Always Unpopular 128 Myth 5: Authoritarianism Has No Redeeming Qualities 129 Myth 6: Authoritarianism Is the Worst Possible Form of Government 130

The Consolidation of Power 148 Eliminating Opposition Parties 149 Purging Real or Imagined Rivals within the Party 149 Creating a Monolithic Society 150 The Transformation of Society 151 The Soviet Union under Stalin 151 Germany under Hitler 154 China under Mao 156 The Human Cost of Totalitarianism Other Faces of Totalitarianism

The Short Life of the Worst Regimes Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 164 Summary

164

Key Terms

165

Review Questions

165

Recommended Reading

166

159

161 163

141

Contents

vii

The Legislature 207 The Executive 209 The Judiciary 210 Strengths and Weaknesses of the Two Systems 212

PART 2 ESTABLISHED AND EMERGING DEMOCRACIES 169 7 Parliamentary Democracy

170

Great Britain: Mother of all Parliaments 173 A Mixed Regime 174 Fusion of Powers 174 Indefinite Terms of Office 175 Disciplined Parties 177 Are Two Heads Better Than One? 178 A Model with Legs 179 France: President Versus Parliament 179 The Fifth Republic: A Hybrid System 179 France’s Dual Executive 181 Reduced Role of the National Assembly 182 Rival Parties and Seesaw Elections 182 Constitution under Pressure: Testing the Balance 183 Justice à la Française 184 The Balance Sheet 185 Germany: Federalism Against Militarism 186 The Weimar Republic 186 Divided Germany: The Cold War in Microcosm 186 The Great Merger: Democracy Triumphant 187 German Federalism 188 The Executive 188 The Legislature 189 Political Parties 189 The Judiciary 191 The Basic Law and Civil Liberties 193 Does Democracy in Germany Work? 193

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 213 Summary

214

Key Terms

215

Review Questions

215

Recommended Reading

215

8 States and Economies in Transition: Between Democracy and Yesterday 218 The Collapse of Communism

221

Russia: Old Habits Die Hard 222 The Superpower that Wasn’t 222 The Politics of Reform 224 The Collapse of the Soviet Empire 226 Contemporary Challenges 227 Putin: President or Constitutional Czar? 233 Future Prospects 234 Eastern Europe: Two-Track Transition 235 China: Police-State Capitalism 239 Mao in Command 240 Changing of the Guard 240 China’s Pragmatic “Communism” 241 Market-Oriented Reforms 242 Expanded Personal Freedoms 246 Political and Religious Repression 246 New Social Disorders 247 China as a Global Power: Rival or Partner? 247

Japan: Between East and West 193 Historical Background 193 The 1947 Constitution 195 Parliament above Emperor 195 The Party System 196 Patron-Client Politics 198 The Judiciary and Japanese Culture 198 Does Democracy in Japan Work? 199

Two Asian Tigers: Still Role Models? 248 South Korea: Crisis-Prone but Resilient 248 Taiwan: Asia’s Orphan State 250

India and Israel: Challenged Democracies Amazing India: A Parliamentary Miracle 200 Israel: A War Republic 203

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 256

The Adaptability of Democracy

206

Presidents Versus Parliaments: A Brief Comparison 206

200

Latin America: Waiting for the Curtain to Go Up 252 The ABCs of Reform: Argentina, Brazil, Chile 252 Mexico 255

Summary

257

Key Terms

258

Review Questions

258

Recommended Reading

259

viii

Contents

9 The Other World: Development or Anarchy? 260 Classifying Developing Countries

264

Understanding Developing Countries The Legacy of Colonialism

265

267

Political Development: Four Challenges

271

Political Socialization: Forming Citizens The Family 308 Religion 311 Schools 313 Peer Groups 314 The Mass Media 315 The Law 319

Democracy and Development 272 The Correlates of Democracy 273 The Strategy of Development 273 Africa: Democracy’s Dustbin? 274

Socialization and Political Behavior Political Behavior 320 Illegal Political Behavior 321

The Development Steeplechase 274 Development and Conflict: Deadly Diamonds 275 Development and Ethnicity: Deadly Differences 275 Nigeria: World's Poorest Oil-Rich Country 276 India: Elephant or Cheetah? 277 Sri Lanka: Sinhalese versus Tamils 279 Development and Identity: Paradise Lost 280 Development and Poverty: How Green Is the Revolution? 280 When Development Fails: The Lessons of Darfur 285

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 323

Dysfunctional States Somalia

When Political Socialization Fails

286

286

Sierra Leone 287 Afghanistan 288 Zimbabwe 289 Overdevelopment: The Enemy Within

289

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 291 Summary

291

Key Terms

292

Review Questions

Summary

323

Key Terms

324

Review Questions

307

320

322

324

Recommended Reading

324

11 Political Participation: The Price of Influence 326 Defining Participation 328 Public Opinion 329 Polls 330 Elections 332 Electoral Systems 333 Direct Democracy 335 Rationalizing Participation: Why Vote? 338 Voting in the United States 338 Patterns of Participation 340 Private Pursuits and the Public Good 342 Affluence and Apathy 343 Participating as a Spectator: Outsiders

345

Participating as a Player: Insiders 346 Elitist Theories: Iron Laws and Ironies 346 Pluralists Versus Elitists 347 293

Recommended Reading

293

PART 3 POLITICS BY CIVIL MEANS: CITIZENS, LEADERS, AND POLICIES 297 10 Political Socialization: The Making of a Citizen 298 The Good Citizen 300 Defining Citizenship 301 A Classical View 302 Political Culture: Defining the Good

304

Participation and Political Parties 349 American Democracy: No Place for a Party? 349 General Aims 349 One-Party Dominant Systems 350 Competitive Party Systems 351 The Architecture of Democracy 351 Is the Party Over? 352 Participation and Interest Groups 352 Sources and Methods of Influence 354 The Great Race: Getting Ahead of the PAC 355 The Eclipse of the Public Interest 358

Contents

ix

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 360 Summary

The Pursuit of Prosperity 411 Budget Deficits and the National Debt 412 Educational Malaise 416 Health Care: It Isn’t for Everyone 419 Income Distribution: Who Gets What, When, and How? 420

361

Key Terms 362 Review Questions

362

Recommended Reading

362

The Pursuit of Equality 421 Racial Discrimination 421

12 Political Leadership: The Many Faces of Power 364 The Ideal Leader 368 Statesmanship 368 The Lure of Fame 370

Affirmative Action or Reverse Discrimination? 424 Who Deserves Preferential Treatment?

Four Exemplary Leaders 371 Rómulo Betancourt (1908–1981) 372 Winston Churchill (1874–1965) 374 Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) 375 Anwar al-Sadat (1918–1981) 376

The Pursuit of Justice 431 Crime and Punishment 431 Justice as Fair Procedure 431 The Limits of Legal Protection 432

The Eclipse of Leadership? 378

Goals in Conflict

American Demagogues 381 Aaron Burr (1756–1836) 381 Theodore Bilbo (1877–1947) 382 Huey Long (1893–1935) 382 Joseph McCarthy (1906–1957) 384 Tom Delay (b. 1947) 384

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 435

Politicians 385 Legislators as Delegates 386 Legislators as Trustees 386 Solons 387

Recommended Reading

Citizen-Leaders 388 Václav Havel (b. 1936) 388 Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) Rosa Parks (1913–2005) 390

390

Key Terms 393 393

Recommended Reading

436

Key Terms

437

435

438 438

PART 4 POLITICS BY VIOLENT MEANS: REVOLUTION, WAR, AND TERRORISM 439

393

Review Questions

Summary

Review Questions

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 392 Summary

425

The Pursuit of Liberty 426 Liberty and the First Amendment 426 Privacy and the Right to Life 429

394

13 Issues in Public Policy: Principles, Priorities, and Practices 396 The Pursuit of Security 398 Security from Foreign Enemies 398 Security from Enemies Within 402 Social Security 405 Security and the Environment 409 Security from One’s Own Actions 411

14 Revolution: In the Name of Justice The Frequency of Revolutions

440

442

Modern Revolutions: Two Traditions 443 The American Revolution 444 The French Revolution 447 The Two Revolutions Compared 451 Is Revolution Ever Justified? Burke, Paine, and Locke 451 Burke’s “Reflections” 452 Paine’s Rebuttal 453 Locke’s Right to Revolt 454 The Causes of Revolution 456 The Classical View 456 Modern Theories 457 Some Tentative Conclusions 459 Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 462

x

Contents

Summary

463

Key Terms

464

Review Questions

Just Wars: Wars Others Start 522 The Just War Doctrine 522 Evaluating the Just War Doctrine 524

464

Recommended Reading

A War on What? The Politics of Hyperbole 527

465

15 Terrorism: Weapon of the Weak What is Terrorism?

Weapons of Mass Disruption: Cyber war

466

471

The Origins of Terrorism 473 The Logic of Terrorism 476 Terrorist Tactics 476 Acts of Terrorism Versus Acts of War 477 Illegal Enemy Combatants 478 Characteristics of Terrorist Groups 479 Nightmare in North Africa: Algeria 480 Terrorist or Freedom Fighter?

482

495 496

Review Questions

491

493

496

Recommended Reading

497

16 War: Politics by Other Means

500

The Causes of War 503 Human Nature: Hobbes 504 Society: Rousseau 507 The Environment: Locke 512 In Search of a Definitive Theory 514 Beyond Politics 515 Beyond Economics 517 The Danger of Over simplification 518 Total War: Wars Everybody Fights 519 Accidental War: Wars Nobody Wants Nuclear War: Wars Nobody Wins Proxy Wars: Wars Others Fight

521 522

Key Terms

534

Review Questions

534

Recommended Reading

535

Get Real! Machiavelli and Morgenthau

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 495 Key Terms

533

17 International Relations: The Struggle for Power 538

Countering Terrorism 487 Domestic Legislation 487 Cooperation Among Nations 489 Unilateral Counterterrorist Measures Private Measures 493

Summary

Summary

PART 5 POLITICS WITHOUT GOVERNMENT 537

Terrorism and Society 483 Youthful Recruits 484 The Psychology of Terrorism 485 Terrorism and the Media 486

Can Terrorism be Contained?

530

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 532

520

541

The Classical System: Eurocentric 542 The Balance of Power: Essential Elements 543 The Sunset of the Old European Order

544

The Cold War System: Global 544 The Dawn of Bipolarity 545 The Primacy of Ideology 545 The Danger of Nuclear War 546 Mutual Deterrence : A Lasting Legacy

547

After the Cold War: A New World Order? 548 New World, Old Ideas 548 A Challenged Global Economy 549 The New Regionalism 550 The Curse of Ethnic Violence 551 The Eclipse of Unipolarity 552 The Old Doomsday Scenario: Preventing Nuclear Proliferation 553 The New Doomsday Scenario: Averting a Silent Spring 554 The IT Revolution 557 Living in a Hostile World: U.S. Foreign Policy 557 The National Interest? 558 In Pursuit of the National Interest 560 The Great Debate: Realism Versus Idealism 563

Contents

xi

The Curse of Unintended Consequences: Blowback 564 The Bush Doctrine 565 Reinventing Statecraft: Toward a New Realism 566 Ideals and Self-Interest: The Power of Morality 568 Hard Facts About Soft Power 569 Apocalyptic Visions: Culture Wars and Anarchy? 570 Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 572 Summary

572

Key Terms 574 Review Questions

574

Recommended Reading

575

The United Nations 589 Historical Background 598 The Founding of the United Nations 591 The United Nations During the Cold War 592 The United Nations After the Cold War 594 The Limits of International Organization 598 Unconventional Nonstate Actors 600 Terrorist Organizations 600 Privatized Military Firms (Mercenaries)

International Law 602 Usefulness 602 Compliance and Enforcement 602 International Law in the Modern Era 603 The Limitations of International Law 608 International Law: Who Cares? 610 The Quest for a Perpetual Peace

18 International Organization(s): Globalization and the Quest for Order 576 Nonstate Actors on the World Stage 579 Multinational Corporations 579 International Organizations: INGOs and IGOs 581 The Amazing European Union 585 Origins and Evolution 585 Major Institutions 585 A Single Market 587 The EU on the World Stage 588 The Logic of European Integration 589

601

Gateways to the World: Exploring Cyberspace 612 Summary

612

Key Terms

613

Review Questions

614

Recommended Reading

ENDNOTES 615 GLOSSARY 649 INDEX 670

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E

We live in a global village. The concepts of space and time are not the same for us as they were for our grandparents. We are all connected and we can carry on face-to-face conversations with friends and loved ones who are thousands of miles a away. Without leaving Kansas, we can look down from the heavens and see where somebody lives in Kenya. Today, events anywhere in the world can affect people everywhere. Terrorist acts, wars, natural disasters, economic downturns, banking crises, and volatile stock markets can destabilize countries and disrupt international relations. So, too, can a national election that changes the power balance in Washington or London—like the one in the United States that swept the Republicans out of power in November 2008 or the one likely to bring the Conservatives back to power in the United Kingdom no later than the spring of 2010. Things change with blinding speed in this age of globalization, but the basic nature of politics remains unchanged. The struggle for power continues; so, too, does the search for order and justice all over the world. The limits of power, even in its most concentrated forms, are glaringly apparent—from ancient places such as Palestine and Iraq in the Middle East and Afghanistan in Central Asia to the United States of America, with its relatively short history and even shorter memory. The cost of failed policies and corrupt, cynical, or simply incompetent leadership is clearly apparent not only in dictatorships abroad but also in democracies, including our own. Leadership is vital to achieving good government, but so is citizenship, and the quality of citizenship in the modern world is no cause for celebration. This double deficiency—both at the top and the bottom of political society—is a crisis rarely mentioned in public, one that gives ample evidence of its existence but continues to go largely unnoticed. Meanwhile, there is no absence of injustice, intolerance, misguided idealism, zealotry, and human suffering—proof enough that the increasingly polluted and crowded planet we inhabit has not changed for the better, even though the fortunate few are far more secure and comfortable than the less fortunate many. Since Understanding Politics made its debut in 1984, nothing has shaken my conviction that politics matter. As young citizens with a voice and vote, college students need to acquire at least a rudimentary knowledge of the political and economic forces that shape our world. Ironically, as news and information have become more and more accessible, thanks in no small part to the Internet, voters in the United States remain largely ignorant of the issues, interests, and arguments that occupy the attention of elected officials and policy makers. Indeed, the vast majority of citizens are not engaged in the political process at all except perhaps to vote. This fact is all the more discouraging because a heightened xii

Preface

political awareness is only the first step in the educational preparation—and empowerment—of the next generation of citizens who will be called upon not only to vote and pay taxes, but also to lead the nation in the difficult decades that lie ahead. Global warming, the shifting global power balance, and the precarious global economy—these are but three of the challenges that will define world politics and determine who gets what, when, and how in the brave, new world order of the twenty-first century. The study of politics is a gateway to a broader and better understanding of human nature, society, and the world. There can be no better reason to write a book, or to continue rewriting one. The first edition of this book appeared more than a quarter of a century ago and is now in its ninth edition. Like the murky political world it seeks to unmask, it is and always will be a work in progress. The science and philosophy of politics fall squarely within the liberal arts tradition. The phrase “science and philosophy of politics” points to one of the deepest cleavages within the discipline: Analysts who approach politics from the standpoint of science often stress the importance of power, whereas those who view it through the wide-angle lens of philosophy often emphasize the importance of justice. But the distinction between power and justice—like that between science and philosophy—is too often exaggerated. Moral and political questions are ultimately inseparable in the real world. What makes the exercise of power—as distinct from the use of brute force— political is public debate, free speech, criticism, dissent, and the certainty that elections will occur at regular intervals. Whenever moral issues arise in the realm of public policy (for example, questions concerning abortion, capital punishment, or the use of force by police or the military), the essential ingredients of politics are present. A single-minded emphasis on power or morality—on either at the expense of the other—is likely to confound our efforts to make sense of politics or, for that matter, to find lasting solutions to problems that afflict and divide us. Thus, it is always necessary to balance the equation, tempering political realism with a penchant for justice. Similarly, the dichotomy so often drawn between facts and values is misleading. Rational judgments, in the sense of reasoned opinions about what is good and just, are sometimes more definitive (or less elusive) than facts. For example, the proposition that “genocide is evil” is true. (Its opposite—genocide is good—is morally indefensible.) It is a well-known fact that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis committed genocide. We can therefore say that Hitler was evil as a matter of fact and not “simply” because mass murder is abhorrent to our personal values. Other value-laden propositions can be stated with a high degree of probability but not absolute certainty. For example, “If you want to reduce violent crime, first reduce poverty.” Still other questions of this kind may be too difficult or too close to call—in the abortion controversy, for example, does the right of a woman to biological self-determination outweigh the right to life of the unborn? It makes no sense to ignore the most important questions in life simply because the answers are not easy. Even when the right answers are unclear, it is often possible to recognize wrong answers—a moderating force in itself.

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Preface

Understanding Politics employs a foundation-building approach to the study of politics and government. It begins by identifying political phenomena (such as war and terrorism) that students find interesting and then seeks to describe and explain them. In an effort to build on students’ natural curiosity, I try to avoid much of the jargon and many of the technical or arcane disputes that too often characterize the more advanced literature in the field of political science. Inevitably, some themes and events are discussed in more than one chapter: The world of politics is more like a seamless web than a chest of drawers. In politics as in nature, a given event or phenomenon often has many meanings and is connected to other events and phenomena in ways that are not immediately apparent. Emphasizing the common threads among major political ideas, institutions, and issues helps beginning students make sense of seemingly unrelated bits and pieces of the political puzzle. Seeing how the various parts fit together is a necessary step toward understanding politics. Rather than retreating into the dark recesses of a single discipline, the book unapologetically borrows insights from various disciplines, including history, economics, psychology, and sociology, as well as philosophy. It is intended to be a true liberal arts approach to the study of government and politics. The goal is ambitious: to challenge students to begin a lifelong learning process that alone can lead to a generation of citizens who are well informed, actively engaged, self-confident, and thoughtful, and who have a capacity for indignation in the face of public hypocrisy, dishonesty, stupidity, or gross ineptitude. In the ninth edition, I have retained the pedagogical features that characterized the previous editions of the book. Thus, each chapter begins with an outline and ends with a summary, highlights key terminology, poses review questions for measuring comprehension, and provides an annotated list of recommended readings. In addition, the text contains a wide variety of photos, figures, maps, tables, and boxed features, many of which have been revised or replaced with updated materials. Most chapters also include a “Spotlight” feature that highlights events in a particular region or state and draws together relevant and interdisciplinary themes that converge on that time and place.

New in the Ninth Edition Like the previous edition, the ninth contains new features while remaining true to its original design and scope. Its preparation included a thorough updating of every chapter to reflect the sweeping changes that have occurred since the publication of the eighth edition. These include a recession-induced global economic crisis; the 2008 election to the presidency of Barack Obama who ran on a platform calling for major change; a U.S. Congress with a solid Democratic majority in both houses; a reduction in the level of violence in Iraq; an escalation of the war in Afghanistan; a continuing shift in the global distribution of economic power from the United States to Europe and Asia; a push to develop clean energy driven by warnings that Planet Earth is a reaching a climate-change tipping point; and a renewed sense of urgency surrounding the dangers of nuclear proliferation, blackmail, and terrorism prompted by North Korea's bomb and missile tests in the spring of 2009.

Preface

Part 1, “Comparative Political Systems: Models and Theories,” analyzes utopian, democratic, and authoritarian forms of government, as well as political systems caught in the difficult transition from authoritarian to democratic institutions. The first four chapters are theoretical (basic concepts, ideologies, utopia, and liberal democracy); these chapter are updated and pared down but otherwise essentially unchanged. Chapter 1, “Introduction: The Study of Politics,” defines the basic concepts of politics and centers on how and why we study it. This chapter lays the groundwork for the remainder of the text. Chapter 2, “The Idea of the Public Good: Ideologies and Isms,” deals with the belief systems that have shaped our world, including ideologies of the Right and Left, such as communism and fascism, and “isms” of the Right and Left such as liberalism and conservatism. Chapter 3 explores ideal states, identifies elements common to many utopias, and considers both the allure and perils of utopianism, closing with a look at dystopias. Chapter 4 is devoted to the theory of liberal democracy and examines the classical Aristotelian view that the best regime imaginable is not possible, and that what Aristotle called a “mixed regime” (combining elements of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy) is the best possible. Chapter 5, “The Authoritarian Model,” expands and updates material on Zimbabwe to reflect developments surrounding the 2008 election and Robert Mugabe's refusal to step down despite losing the popular vote to Morgan Tsvangirai. It also includes a brand new “Spotlight” on the March 2009 coup in Madagascar. Chapter 6 features new material on Iran and Afghanistan. Part 2, “Established and Emerging Democracies,” consists of three chapters and examines parliamentary democracies (Chapter 7), transitional states (Chapter 8), and developing countries (Chapter 9). Virtually all governments in today’s world either aspire to some form of democracy or claim to be “democratic.” This startling fact is itself irrefutable evidence of the power of an idea. Though often abused, the idea of democracy has fired the imaginations of people everywhere for more than two centuries, as the popular protests and mass street demonstrations against the outcome of Iran's rigged presidential election in June 2009 served to remind us. The crushing defeat of Japan's long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) a few months later was another reminder that politicians can ignore the power of the people only so long—eventually there will be a day of reckoning. In an age when bad news is written in blood, and body counts are more likely to refer to innocent civilians than armed combatants, it is well to remember that democratic ideals have never before been so warmly embraced or so widely (if imperfectly) institutionalized. Chapter 8 now treats China as an example of “police-state capitalism”—a model in a class by itself. The case for this approach was reinforced by two late developments: (1) the official ban on any public mention or commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre on its twentieth anniversary (June 4, 2009); and (2) press reports that Beijing was blocking dozens of Websites, including Bing.com, Live.com, Hotmail.com, Twitter, YouTube, Bing, Flickr, Opera, Live, Wordpress, and Blogger. Developing countries continue to be the focus of Chapter 9. This edition expands the treatment of Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and Sudan and features Somalia, Afghanistan, and Zimbabwe as contemporary examples of failed states, as well as Sierra Leone as a failed state struggling to overcome its past.

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In Part 3, “Politics by Civil Means: Citizens, Leaders, and Policies,” four chapters (10 through 13) focus on the political process and public policy. The United States continues to be featured in this section, which, as before, examines citizenship and political socialization, political participation (including opinion polling and voting behavior), political organization (parties and interest groups), political leadership, political ideologies (or divergent “approaches to the public good”), and contemporary public policy issues. Chapter 10 contains new features on the FCC and restricted speech, on the gender gap in the 2008 elections, on campaign spending in 2008, and updates throughout. Chapter 11 on elections covers the 2008 national elections and features a “Focus” box on the problem of civic literacy, as well as a new subsection (“The Obama Factor”) on the changing role of technology in the political process. Chapter 12 on leadership—a topic greatly undervalued in a troubled world where political spin is all too often a substitute for policy wisdom—includes important new material on the corrupting influence of money in national politics and the so-called revolving door of Big Government and Big Business. Chapter 13 on public policy retains its earlier structure but by its very nature requires considerable revision with each new edition; the ninth is no exception. This edition, for example, looks at the crisis in the Social Security system in greater depth than previous editions and also expands the treatment of health care reform, the environment, and fiscal policy (budget deficit and taxation). In addition, it incorporates new Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action and reverse discrimination, freedom of speech and the Patriot Act, and freedom of religion and public education. There is also new material on civil liberties and ID cards focusing on the Real ID Act of 2005. Part 4 (“Politics by Violent Means: Revolution, War, and Terrorism”) examines conflict as a special and universal problem in politics. It divides the problem into three categories: revolution, terrorism, and war (Chapters 14, 15, and 16, respectively). The Bush administration's curious response to the problem posed by the existence of a malevolent terrorist network (Al Qaeda) harbored by a fundamentalist regime (the Taliban) in a land virtually impossible to subdue by conquest (Afghanistan) still affords ample opportunity for contemplation about the motives, causes and consequences of war at the beginning of a new millennium in the post-Bush era—not least because that war shows no signs of winding down any time soon. In an effort to deal with this escalating conflict, President Obama ordered a troop surge in Afghanistan shortly after taking office. He also revisited US anti-terrorism policies, changing some things but, to the consternation of left-leaning critics, leaving the substance and strategy largely intact. These three chapters reflect the changing international scene and the efforts of the Obama administration to adjust pre-existing policies to meet the new circumstances. Chapter 16 (“War”), for example, closes with a new section entitled “Weapons of Mass Disruption: Cyber War,” dealing with the threat posed by cyber terrorists not only to the Internet and but also to the whole gamut of computer-based data storage and communications systems from banking and finance to intelligence and defense networks. Finally, Part 5, “Politics without Government,” introduces students to key concepts in the study of international relations, describes key patterns, and

Preface

discusses perennial problems. Chapter 17 examines the basic principles and concepts in international relations and the evolving structure and context of world politics; it also gives special attention to high-priority global issues, such as the global economic recession, the danger of nuclear proliferation, global warming, and the impact of the revolution in information technology. As in the previous edition, Chapter 18 looks at international law and organizations and the search for world order; the ninth edition, however, contains a brand-new section on the European Union—a unique combination of international and supranational organization encompassing 27 member-states that has quietly grown into the largest single economy in the world. A fitting note on which to end the course.

Note to Instructors A PowerLecture CD-ROM with ExamView®, ISBN: 0-495-90153-9, is available to instructors who adopt the text. The PowerLecture CD-Rom includes interactive PowerPoint® lectures, a one-stop lecture and class preparation tool, to make it easy for you to assemble, edit, publish, and present custom lectures for your course. The interactive PowerPoint® lectures bring together outlines specific to every chapter of Understanding Politics; tables, statistical charts, and graphs; and photos from the book. In addition, you can add your own materials—culminating in a powerful, personalized presentation. A Test Bank in Microsoft® Word and ExamView® computerized testing offers a large array of well-crafted multiple-choice and essay questions, along with their answers and page references. An Instructor’s Manual includes learning objectives, chapter outlines, discussion questions, suggestions for stimulating class activities and projects, suggested readings, and Web resources. The Instructor’s Manual and PowerPoint Lecture Outlines are also available on the Instructor’s section of the book’s companion website at www.cengage.com/politicalscience/magstadt/ understandingpolitics9e. For more information, contact your local sales representative. I also encourage readers to visit my WorldViewWest Website at http:// www.worldviewwest.com and to direct any comments or questions to tom@ worldviewwest.com.

Acknowledgments Through nine editions and more than two decades, many individuals associated with several different publishing houses and universities have helped make this book a success. Among the scholars and teachers who reviewed the work for previous editions in manuscript, offering helpful criticisms and suggestions, were Donald G. Baker, Southampton College, Long Island University; Peter Longo, University of Nebraska at Kearney; Iraj Paydar, Bellevue Community College; Henry Steck, the State University of New York at Cortland; Ruth Ann Strickland, Appalachian State University; Sean K. Anderson, Idaho State University; Daniel Aseltine, Chaffey College; Thomas A. Kolsky, Montgomery County Community College; and Linda Valenty, California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo.

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For the current edition, that vital role fell to reviewers Chris Farnung, Wake Technical Community College; Himanee Gupta-Carlson, Tacoma Community College; Henry Patterson, Lorain County Community College; John Payne, College of DuPage; and Stephen Robertson, Middle Tennessee State University . I also wish to express my appreciation to Edwin Hill, Political Science Editor at Wadsworth, who has kept this project on track and on schedule from day one. A very special thanks to Elisa Adams, my development editor, who once again made this book so much better in so many ways. As always, I owe a large debt of gratitude to my family, especially Mary Jo (who died in 1990) and Becky, but also David, Michael and Alexa. It takes time to write a book and time is the most precious thing we give—and give up. Once lost, it can never be regained. Finally, to the “Coffee Boys” of Westwood Hills—Hugh Brown, Glion Curtis, Grant Mallet, Howard Martin, Stan Nelson, Norm Olson, Harris Rayl, Gary Ripple, and G. Ross Stephens—what can I say? Some guys will do anything to have the last word.

A B O U T

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AU T H O R

Thomas M. Magstadt earned his doctorate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He has taught at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Augustana College (Sioux Falls), the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the Air War College (Maxwell Air Force Base), the University of Missouri—Kansas City, and the University of Kansas. He has worked as an intelligence analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, served as director of the Midwest Conference on World Affairs, and lectured as a Fulbright scholar in the Czech Republic. Dr. Magstadt is the author of An Empire If You Can Keep It (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2004); Nations and Governments: Comparative Politics in Regional Perspective, 5th edition (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2005); Contemporary European Politics (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2007); and The European Union on the World Stage: Sovereignty, Soft Power, and the Search for Consensus (BookSurge, 2009). He has a Website devoted to world affairs at www. worldviewwest.com. He currently lectures in the European Studies Program at the University of Kansas.

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“Knowledge is power. The Obama presidential campaign in 2008 used the Internet to generate popular support, raise unprecedented sums of money in small donations, and communicate with its rapidly expanding base. As a result, experts say, the 2008 election was a transformational event that will forever change the way political campaigns in the United States are run.”

Introduction The Study of Politics

Basic Concepts of Politics Power Order Justice How We Study Politics For What Purposes? By What Methods? The Political (Science) Puzzle Why Study Politics? Self-Interest The Public Interest

4

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

W

hen the previous edition of this book was released in 2007, polls showed that many in the United States were disenchanted with politics and dismayed at the decline in U.S. prestige in the eyes of the world. How things have changed! Two events in the second half of 2008 largely account for the sea change in public opinion. First, a financial meltdown and plummeting stock market wiped out fortunes and rocked the global economy to its very foundations. Second, in the midst of this maelstrom, Barack Obama became the first AfricanAmerican elected to the nation’s highest office. Obama had energized millions, many of whom were first-time voters. Nearly eight million more Democrats voted in 2008 than in 2004, whereas almost four million fewer Republicans bothered to go to the polls. Even so, it was the largest turnout for a presidential election in history (though the percentage was about the same as in 2004). In spite of the deepening recession, there was a new sense of hope, if not optimism. There was also a new sense of urgency about dealing with the nation’s troubled economy and a host of other problems that President Obama inherited from his predecessor. Such dramatic events as a stock market crash or a pivotal presidential election have one thing in common: they are intensely political. Politics is everywhere, even when it’s less obvious. To see it we often have to read between the lines or go behind the scenes. That is not always easy to do, but in a democratic republic where citizens have the right and duty to vote, it is a vital check on the arbitrary exercise of power and often the only non-violent way for “we, the people” to limit the temptations—and prevent or punish the excesses—of elected officials. The other way, the way of revolution or rebellion (see Chapter 14), is a drastic measure and a last resort—one the American colonists chose in 1776 and the Confederate South chose in 1860. In a real sense, war and revolution represent the failure of politics. As citizens in a civil society, we too often take the value of civility and “politics as usual” for granted. At a minimum, responsible citizenship requires us to have a basic understanding of the ideas, institutions, and issues that constitute the stuff of politics.

BASIC CONCEPTS OF POLITICS politics The process by which a community selects rulers and empowers them to make decisions, takes action to attain common goals, and reconciles conflicts within the community.

Politics has been variously defined as “the art of the possible,” as the study of “who gets what, when, and how,” as the “authoritative allocation of values,” and in countless other ways. A simple definition of politics is surprisingly elusive, but most of us know it when we see it. Like any other branch of human knowledge, political science—the systematic study of politics—has a lexicon and language all its own. We start our language lesson with three little words that carry a great deal of political freight: power, order, and justice.

Power The ability of governments and their leaders to make and enforce rules, and to influence the behavior of individuals or groups by rewarding or punishing

Basic Concepts of Politics

certain behaviors, constitutes one important form of power. Governments cannot maintain peace, guarantee security, promote economic growth, or pursue effective policies without power. The effective exercise of political authority includes much more, however, than the ability to use physical force. Indeed, the sources of power are many and varied. A large and well-educated population, an overwhelming election mandate, an inspiring leader, vast oil reserves, a booming economy, a strong work ethic, a well-trained and well-equipped military, an arsenal of nuclear weapons, a large foreign trade surplus, a stable currency, international good will, defensible borders, a cohesive society, a ruthless and efficient secret police, a surge of national patriotism, a grave external threat—all are examples of quite different power sources. We often define power in material terms—population size, armies, and national wealth. We call a country with a large population, well-equipped military forces, and a flourishing economy a “great power” or even, in the case of the United States, a “superpower.” Power defined in this way is tangible and we can readily measure it. Critics argue, however, that although this definition has obvious merit, it is too narrow. They make a useful distinction between “hard power” and “soft power.” Hard power refers to the means and instruments of brute force or coercion, primarily military and economic clout. Soft power is “attractive” rather than coercive: the essence of soft power is “the important ability to get others to want what you want.”1 Power is never equally distributed in any society or state. Yet the need to concentrate power in the hands of a few inevitably raises big questions in the minds of the many. Who wields power, in whose interests, to what ends? The most basic question of all in any political order is “Who rules?” Sometimes the answer is simple; we have only to look at a nation’s constitution and observe the workings of its government. But it may be difficult to determine who really rules when the government is cloaked in secrecy or when, as is often the case, informal patterns of power are very different from the formal structures outlined in the nation’s basic law. The number of people holding political office and exercising power is always minuscule compared with the population at large. The terms power and authority are often confused and even used interchangeably. In reality, they denote two distinct dimensions of politics. Mao Zedong, the late Chinese Communist leader, famously quipped that “Political power flows from the barrel of a gun,” which is true but grossly oversimplified. Political power is clearly associated with the means of coercion (the police, the secret police, the militia, the military), but power can also flow from wealth, personal charisma, ideology, religion, and many other sources, including the moral standing of a particular individual or group in society. Authority, by definition, flows not only (or even mainly) from the barrel of a gun but also from norms the vast majority of a society’s members recognize and embrace. These norms are moral, spiritual, and legal codes of behavior or good conduct. Therefore, authority as we use it in this text implies legitimacy—a condition in which power is exercised through established institutions and according to rules the people freely accept as right and proper. Note this definition does not mean, nor is it meant to imply, that democracy is the only legitimate form of government possible. A monarchy or other form of dictatorship could qualify as legitimate, as long as the ruled recognize the ruler’s right to rule.

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power The capacity to influence or control the behavior of persons and institutions, whether by persuasion or coercion.

authority Command of the obedience of society’s members by a government. legitimacy The exercise of political power in a community in a way that is voluntarily accepted by the members of that community.

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legitimate authority The legal and moral right of a government to rule over a specific population and control a specific territory; the term legitimacy usually implies a widely recognized claim of governmental authority and voluntary acceptance on the part of the population(s) directly affected.

order In a political context, refers to an existing or desired arrangement of institutions based on certain principles, such as liberty, equality, prosperity, and security. Also often associated with the rule of law (as in the phrase ‘‘law and order’’) and with conservative values such as stability, obedience, and respect for legitimate authority.

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

The acid test of legitimate authority is not whether people have the right to vote or to strike or dissent openly, but how much value people attach to these rights. If a majority of the people are content with the existing political order just as it is (with or without voting rights), the legitimacy of the ruler(s) is simply not in question. Power in this case is suffused with legitimacy as well as authority. Political stability follows as a natural consequence. As history amply demonstrates, it is possible to seize power and to rule without a popular mandate or public approval, without moral, spiritual, or legal justification—in other words, without true (legitimate) authority. Power seizures occurred in Mauritania and Guinea in 2008; more than a dozen contemporary rulers, mostly in Africa, came to power in this manner. Adolf Hitler’s failed “Beer Hall Putsch” in 1923 is a famous example of an attempted power seizure. Such attempts often fail, but they are evidence of political instability—as Hitler’s eventual rise to power amply illustrates. However, a ruler cannot seize authority; he or she can only assert or claim it. Claiming authority, however, is useless without the means to enforce it. The unchallenged right to rule that makes mass coercion unnecessary hinges in large part on legitimacy. If the people refuse to accept a government’s authority, illegitimate rulers are faced with a choice: relinquish power or repress opposition. Whether repression works depends, in turn, on the answer to three questions. First, how widespread and determined is the opposition? Second, does the government have adequate financial resources and coercive capabilities to defeat its opponents and deter future challenges? Third, does the government have the will to use all means necessary to crush the rebellion? If the opposition is broadly based and the government waivers for whatever reason, repression is likely to fail. Regimes changed in Russia in 1917 and 1992 following failed attempts to crush the opposition. Two other examples include Cuba in 1958, where Fidel Castro led a successful revolution, and Iran in 1978, where a mass uprising led to the overthrow of the Shah. A similar pattern was evident in many East European states in 1989, when repressive communist regimes collapsed like so many falling dominoes. Even dictatorships are better off having public approval than not having it, if for no other reason than the relatively high cost of repression over a long period of time. Obviously, if people respect the ruler(s) and play by the rules without being forced to do so (or threatened with the consequences), the task of maintaining order and stability in society is going to be much easier. It stands to reason that people who feel exploited and oppressed make poorly motivated workers. The perverse work ethic of Soviet-style dictatorships, where it was frequently said, “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us,” helps explain the decline and fall of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, dramatized by the spontaneous tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Order Order, the second basic concept of politics, exists on several levels. First, it denotes the structures, rules, rituals, procedures, and practices that make up the

Basic Concepts of Politics

political system, which is built upon the foundations of society. What exactly is society? Closely related to community, society is an association of individuals who share a common identity. Usually that identity is at least partially defined by geography, because people who live in close proximity often know each other, enjoy shared experiences, speak the same language, and have similar values and interests. The process of instilling a sense of common purpose or creating a single political allegiance among diverse groups of people is complex and works better from the bottom up than from the top down. The breakup of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, after more than seven decades as multinational states, suggests new communities are often fragile and tend to fall apart quickly if there are not strong cultural and psychological bonds under the political structures. The idea that individuals become a true community through an unwritten social contract has been fundamental to Western political thought since the seventeenth century. Basic to social contract theory is the notion that the right to rule is based on the consent of the governed. Civil liberties in this type of community are a matter of natural law and natural rights—that is, they do not depend on written laws but rather are inherent in Nature. Nature with a capital N is a kind of ultimate truth that, in the eyes of social contract theorists, can be known through a combination of reason and observation. A corollary of this theory is that whenever government turns oppressive, when it arbitrarily takes away such natural rights as life, liberty, and (perhaps) property, the people have a right to revolt (see Chapter 14). Government is a human invention by which societies are ruled and binding rules are made. Given the rich variety of governments in the world, how might we categorize them all? Traditionally we’ve distinguished between republics, in which sovereignty ultimately resides in the people, and governments such as monarchies or tyrannies, in which sovereignty rests with the rulers. Today, almost all republics are democratic (or representative) republics, meaning elected representatives responsible to the people exercise sovereign power.2 Some political scientists draw a simple distinction between democracies, which hold free elections, and dictatorships, which do not. Others emphasize political economy, distinguishing between governments enmeshed in capitalist or market-based systems and governments based on socialist or state-regulated systems. Finally, governments in developing countries face different kinds of challenges than do governments in developed countries. Not surprisingly, more economically developed countries often have markedly more well-established political institutions—including political parties, regular elections, civil and criminal courts—than most less developed countries, and more stable political systems. In the modern world, the state is the sole repository of sovereignty. A sovereign state is a community with well-defined territorial boundaries administered by a single government. It typically claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of force or coercion; makes and enforces the rules (laws) that govern society; raises armies for the defense of its territory and population; levies and collects taxes; regulates trade and commerce; establishes courts, judges,

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community Any association of individuals who share a common identity based on geography, ethical values, religious beliefs, or ethnic origins.

government The persons and institutions that make and enforce rules or laws for the larger community. republic A form of government in which sovereignty resides in the people of that country, rather than with the rulers. The vast majority of republics today are democratic or representative republics, meaning that the sovereign power is exercised by elected representatives who are responsible to the citizenry.

8

state In its sovereign form, an independent political-administrative unit that successfully claims the allegiance of a given population, exercises a monopoly on the legitimate use of coercive force, and controls the territory inhabited by its citizens or subjects; in its other common form, a state is the major political-administrative subdivision of a federal system and, as such, is not sovereign but rather depends on the central authority (sometimes called the ‘‘national government’’) for resource allocations (tax transfers and grants), defense (military protection and emergency relief ), and regulation of economic relations with other federal subdivisions (non-sovereign states) and external entities (sovereign states). sovereignty A government’s capacity to assert supreme power successfully in a political state.

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

and magistrates to settle disputes and punish lawbreakers; and sends envoys (ambassadors) to represent its interests abroad, negotiate treaties, and gather useful information. Entities that share some but not all of the characteristics of states include fiefdoms and chiefdoms, bands and tribes, universal international organizations (such as the United Nations), regional supranational organizations (such as the European Union), and military alliances (such as NATO). In the language of politics, state usually means country. France, for instance, may be called either a state or a country. (In certain federal systems of government, a state is an administrative subdivision, such as New York, Florida, Texas, or California in the United States; however, such states within a state are not sovereign.) The term nation is also a synonym for state or country. Thus, the only way to know for certain whether state means part of a country (for example, the United States) or a whole country (say, France or China) is to consider the context. By the same token, context is the key to understanding what we mean by the word nation. A nation is made up of a distinct group of people who share a common background, including their geographic location, history, racial or ethnic characteristics, religion, language, culture, or belief in common political ideas. Geography heads this list because members of a nation typically exhibit a strong collective sense of belonging associated with a particular territory for which they are willing to fight and die if necessary. Countries with relatively homogeneous populations (with great similarity among members) are most common in Europe. Poland, for example, is a very homogeneous nation, as are the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden, and Norway), Finland, Austria, Portugal, and Greece. The United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy are somewhat more diverse, but each speaks a national language (with different dialects in different areas). Belgium is one of the few countries in Europe clearly divided culturally and linguistically (French-speaking Walloons and Dutch-speaking Flemish). India, Russia, and Nigeria are three highly diverse states. India’s constitution officially recognizes no fewer than eighteen native tongues! The actual number spoken is far larger. As a nation of immigrants, the United States is also very diverse, but the process of assimilation eventually brings the children of newcomers, if not the newcomers themselves, into the mainstream.3 The nation-state is a state encompassing a single nation in which the overwhelming majority of the people form a dominant in-group who share common cultural, ethnic, and linguistic characteristics and all others are part of a distinct out-group or minority. This concept is rooted in a specific time and place—that is, in modern Western Europe. (See Box 1.1 for the story of the first nationstate.) The concept of the nation-state fits less comfortably in other regions of the world, where the political boundaries of sovereign states—many of which were European colonies before World War II—often do not coincide with ethnic or cultural geography. In some instances, ethnic, religious, or tribal groups that were bitter traditional enemies were thrown together in new “states,” resulting in societies prone to great instability or even civil war.

Basic Concepts of Politics

The Peace of Westphalia (1648): The Origins of the Modern Nation-State System

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Dawn of the Nation-State System: Europe in 1648.

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(Continued)

Most historians believe the Peace of Westphalia marks the beginning of the modern European state system. The main actors in forging the peace, which ended the Thirty Years War in 1648, were Sweden and France as the challengers, Spain and the dying Holy Roman Empire as the defenders of the status quo, and the newly independent Netherlands. At first glance, the map of Europe in the midseventeenth century does not look much like it does today. However, on closer inspection we see the outlines of modern Europe emerge (see Map 1.1)—visual proof that the treaty laid the foundations of the nation-state as we see it in Europe today. The emergence of the nation-state system transformed Europe from a continent of territorial empires to one based on relatively compact

country As a political term, it refers loosely to a sovereign state and is roughly equivalent to ‘‘nation’’ or ‘‘nation-state’’; country is often used as a term of endearment— for example, in the phrase ‘‘my country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty’’ in the patriotic song every U.S. child learns in elementary school; country has an emotional dimension not present in the word state.

geographic units that share a single dominant language and culture. This pattern was unprecedented and it would shape both European and world history in the centuries to come. France under Napoleon attempted to establish a new continental empire at the beginning of the nineteenth century but ultimately failed. Two other empires—Austria-Hungary and Russia— remained, but they were eclipsed by a rising new nation-state at the end of the nineteenth century and perished in World War I. After World War I, only the newly constituted Soviet empire existed in Europe. After World War II, what remained of Europe’s overseas colonial empires also disintegrated. Today, the entire world, with few exceptions, is carved up into nation-states—the legacy of a treaty that, for better or worse, set the stage for a new world order.

Decolonization after World War II gave rise to many instant multinational states in which various ethnic or tribal groups were not assimilated into the new social order. Many decades later, the task of nation-building in these new states is still far from finished. A few examples will underscore this point. In 1967, Nigeria plunged into a vicious civil war when one large ethnic group, the Igbo, tried unsuccessfully to secede and form an independent state called Biafra. In 1994, Rwanda witnessed one of the bloodiest massacres in modern times when the numerically superior Hutus slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Tutsis, including women and children. In early 2008, tribal violence in Kenya’s Rift Valley and beyond claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people following the outcome of a presidential election that many believed was rigged. In India, where Hindus and Muslims frequently clash and sporadic violence breaks out among militant Sikhs in Punjab and where hundreds of languages and dialects are spoken, characterizing the country as a nation-state misses the point altogether. In Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), Hindu Tamils have long waged a terrorist guerrilla war against the majority Singhalese, who are Buddhist. Even in the Slavic-speaking parts of Europe, age-old ethnic rivalries have caused the breakup of preexisting states. The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia are all multinational states that self-destructed in the 1990s. Finally, there are stateless nations, such as the Palestinians and Kurds, who share a sense of common identity (or community) but have no homeland. The existence of these nations without states has created highly volatile situations, most notably in the Middle East.

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Justice The fact that the governed always vastly outnumber the governors gives rise to competing—and sometimes conflicting—claims about the fairness of a government’s policies and programs. We accept the rule of some citizens over others only if the public interest—or common good—is significantly advanced in the process. Thus, the exercise of power must be tempered by justice, the third of our basic political concepts: Is power exercised fairly, in the interest of the ruled, or merely for the sake of the rulers? For more than 2,000 years, political observers have maintained the distinction between the public-spirited exercise of political power on the one hand and self-interested rule on the other. This distinction attests to the importance of justice in political life. Not all states and regimes allow questions of justice to be raised; in fact, throughout history, most have not. Even today, some governments brutally and systematically repress political discussion and debate, because they fear that if public attention focuses on basic issues of justice and the common good, then the legitimacy of the existing political order might come under attack. All too

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Citizens unhappy about government policies at home or abroad can express themselves in any number of ways, including demonstrations and marches. In 2009, economic recession and an influx of foreign workers led to widespread labor strikes in the United Kingdom.

nation Often interchangeable with state or country; in common usage, this term actually denotes a specific people with a distinct language and culture or a major ethnic group—for example, the French, Dutch, Chinese, and Japanese people each constitute a nation as well as a state, hence the term nation-state; not all nations are fortunate enough to have a state of their own—modern examples include the Kurds (Turkey, Iraq, and Iran), Palestinians (West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan), Pashtuns (Afghanistan), and Uighurs and Tibetans (China). nation-state A geographically defined community administered by a government. multinational state Sovereign state that contains two or more (sometimes many more) major ethno-linguistic groups (or nations) in the territories it controls; notable examples include India, Nigeria, Russia, and China as well as the former Yugoslavia.

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stateless nation People (or nations) who are scattered over the territory of several states or dispersed widely and who have no autonomous, independent, or sovereign governing body of their own; examples of stateless nations include the Kurds, Palestinians, and Tibetans (see also nation). justice Fairness; the distribution of rewards and burdens in society in accordance with what is deserved.

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often, criticism of how a government rules may call into question its moral or legal right to rule. This is one reason political liberty is so important. We often define justice today as the extent to which government respects natural, human, or civil rights. Among the most important of these is the right to question whether the government is acting justly. Questions about whether this ruler is legitimate or that policy is desirable naturally invade our thoughts and engage our interest. They stem from human nature itself. The famed Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BCE) observed that although animals can only make sounds signifying pleasure and pain, human beings use reason and language “to declare what is advantageous and what is just and unjust.” Therefore, “it is the peculiarity of man, in comparison with the rest of the animal world, that he alone possess a perception of good and evil, of the just and unjust.”4 The same human faculties that make moral judgment possible also make political literacy—or the ability to think and speak intelligently about politics— necessary. In other words, moral judgment and political literacy are two sides of the same coin.

HOW WE STUDY POLITICS The Greek philosopher Aristotle is the father of political science.5 He not only wrote about politics and ethics, but he also described different political systems and suggested a scheme for classifying and evaluating them. For Aristotle, political science simply meant political investigation; thus, a political scientist was one who sought, through systematic inquiry, to understand the truth about politics. In this sense, Aristotle’s approach to studying politics more than two thousand years ago has much in common with what political scientists do today. Yet the discipline has changed a great deal since Aristotle’s time. Today, there is no consensus on how to best study politics. Thus we have a multifaceted discipline with different political scientists choosing different approaches, asking different kinds of questions, and addressing different audiences. The resulting ferment is not necessarily bad. It means the discipline is vital and diverse, and it reflects the vast universe of human activity with which political science must deal. Let us explore why and how contemporary political scientists study politics.

For What Purposes? Just as students in other disciplines seek answers to basic questions about, say, photosynthesis in plant biology or the causes of depression in psychology, historians and political scientists seek answers to perennial questions about politics and government. Some lend themselves to rigorous investigation as in the natural sciences, whereas others do not. Often, the most important questions

How We Study Politics

in politics are “should” and “ought” questions that we cannot answer without resorting to moral philosophy, reason, and logic. These are the great normative political questions that resonate throughout human history: When is war justified? Do people have a right to revolt? Is the right to life absolute? Does anyone have a right to die? Does everyone have a right to liberty? In addition to a better understanding of political ideas and issues, we reap other rewards from the disciplined study of political institutions. For example, not only does studying interest groups in the United States reveal a great deal about their number, composition, and influence, but it can also shed light on how they can become more effective. Studying elections can reveal flaws in the voting process or voting districts or the system of voter registration and lead to appropriate changes or reforms, such as redistricting or switching from written ballots to voting machines. Public opinion surveys tell voters how elections are likely to turn out, and candidates use them to tailor campaign strategy and fine-tune tactics in different regions and states (see Chapter 11). Experts in foreign policy and international relations can analyze and explain the implications of entering into new alliances or making new commitments around the world (see Part V). Yet experts and specialists frequently disagree. In political science, this disagreement can even include such basic questions as whether it is possible to have a “true” science of politics. Should political science strive to predict or forecast events to the degree chemists and physicists can? Should political scientists be held to the same standards as, say, meteorologists? To appreciate the diversity among political scientists, we will look first at what is commonly called methodology.

By What Methods? There are many ways to classify political scientists. We will focus on one basic division—between positivism and the normative approach. Positivism emphasizes empirical research (which relies on observation) and couches problems in terms of variables we can measure. Behaviorism is an offshoot of positivism that focuses mainly on the study of political behavior. Behaviorists typically subject common notions about politics—for example, what motivates voters or why a given election turned out the way it did—to rigorous empirical tests, often casting long-standing “truths” into serious doubt or exposing “facts” as fallacies.

The Normative Approach Sticking to the facts, a trademark of positivism, raises a problem for political scientists who favor a normative approach. Although facts are important, normative political scientists give equal emphasis to values. They want to assess not merely how a particular policy, process, or institution works, but also how well it works according to certain moral or legal standards. They study politics from the perspective of the values and interests at work in social, political, and economic arrangements. In considering Congress, for example, normative political scientists might ask: Do special

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methodology The way scientists and scholars set about exploring, explaining, proving, or disproving propositions in different academic disciplines. The precise methods vary according to the discipline and the object, event, process, or phenomenon under investigation. positivism A philosophy of science, originated by Auguste Comte, that stresses observable, scientific facts as the sole basis of proof and truth; a skeptical view of ideas or beliefs based on religion or metaphysics.. behaviorism An approach to the study of politics that emphasizes factbased evaluations of action. normative approach An approach to the study of politics that is based on examining fundamental and enduring questions.

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interests unduly influence tax legislation? Or with respect to U.S. foreign policy: Was the invasion of Iraq in 2003 necessary? The criteria for answering such questions include philosophy and formal logic, constitutions, treaties, the texts of official documents, court cases, and expert opinions. Individual investigators choose the research topics and methods they consider most important. For example, in a study of the separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government they might begin with a review of the Constitution that included The Federalist Papers (1787–1788)—a famous series of commentaries written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. Or they might focus on the economic interests the Founding Fathers represented or the social class to which they all belonged. Obviously, these questions touch on values as well as facts. They cannot be answered without reference to both. After comparing positivist and normative political science, you might ask, Are facts and values total opposites? Do values influence how even the most rigorous of scientists see the facts? In truth, it is not always easy to distinguish between a fact and a value. Moreover, in politics, values are facts. We all bring certain values to everything we do. At the same time, however, we can never get at the truth if we don’t place a high value on facts.

The Study of Human Behavior Behavioral scientists shy away from studying values and avoid making subjective moral and philosophical judgments about politics, preferring instead to concentrate on facts. They employ the scientific method familiar to investigators in such fields as biology, physics, and chemistry, asking the sort of questions that can only be answered by carefully putting together a research design, gathering observational data, using the tools of statistical analysis, and constructing experiments to test hypotheses. Some behaviorists develop elaborate mathematical models to explain the behavior of voters, political parties, decision makers, coalition members, and the like. For more than half a century, they have undertaken elaborate statistical and mathematical studies to identify the causes and products of war. In December 1996, a study titled “Partisan Effects of Voter Turnout in Senatorial and Gubernatorial Elections” was published in a prominent scholarly journal.6 The authors of the study asked the following precise question: Is it really true, as is widely believed, that high voter turnout favors Democrats? The prevailing belief that Democrats benefit from high voter turnout assumes that: (1) people with lower socioeconomic status (SES) vote less often than people with higher SES; (2) as voter turnout rose, more people on the lower end of the SES ladder voted; and (3) these lower-end voters were likely to vote for the party they thought would most effectively advance working-class interests—namely, the Democratic Party. Many political observers treat this belief, which is reinforced whenever low voter turnout coincides with Republican victories, as an established fact. This belief also explains why most Democrats favored (and Republicans opposed) the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. (Popularly known as the Motor Voter Bill, this law eased voter registration procedures.)

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The researchers used statistics that started in 1928, examining 1,842 state elections: 983 for senator and 859 for governor. The study omitted two kinds of elections: (1) elections in the Deep South between 1928 and 1965, in which there was effectively only one party with any chance of winning (the Democratic Party), and (2) elections in which third-party candidates received more than 5 percent of the vote. Applying a mathematical test, the researchers concluded that from 1928 to 1964, high voter turnout aided the Democratic Party, as was generally believed. However, after 1964 the results were markedly different. In senatorial races, there was no relationship between turnout and votes for Democrats; in gubernatorial elections, Republicans, rather than Democrats, fared slightly better, but the difference was not statistically significant. Why was the conventional theory of voter turnout invalidated after 1964? Although this question was beyond the scope of the study, its findings were consistent with another complex theory of voting behavior. The rise in the number of independents since 1964 (and the resulting decline in party identification and partisan voting) made it difficult to calculate which party would benefit from a large voter turnout in any given race. By the mid-1990s, nearly one-third of all voters identified themselves as independents, while ticket splitting (not voting for only Republicans or only Democrats—a so-called straight ticket) became common. This sophisticated research project epitomizes the kind of methodology employed by behavioral political scientists. Behaviorists, like other research scientists, are typically content to take small steps on the road to knowledge. Each step points the way to future studies.

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Political scientists analyze patterns and trends in voting behavior to learn more about who votes, how different segments of the population vote, and why people vote the way they do. Political strategists use this information to help candidates for office get elected.

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Studying human behavior can be as frustrating as it is fascinating. There are almost always multiple explanations for human behavior, and it is extremely difficult to sort out and isolate a single cause, and distinguish it from a mere statistical correlation. For instance, several studies indicate that criminals tend to be less intelligent than law-abiding citizens. If so, is low intelligence a cause of crime (perhaps because many criminals cannot understand the consequences of violating the law or the value of deferred gratification in civil society)? How does low intelligence connect to other correlates (and perhaps causes) of crime, including age, gender, personality type, a history of being abused or neglected as a child, and drug or alcohol addiction? What about free will? Are we to believe that society—rather than an individual who commits a wrong act—is somehow responsible for crime? Political scientists often disagree not only about how to study politics but also about which questions to ask. Behaviorists typically prefer to examine specific and narrowly defined questions, answering them by applying quantitative techniques—sophisticated statistical methods such as regression analysis and analysis of variance. Many broader questions of politics, especially those raising issues of justice, lie beyond the scope of this sort of investigation. Questions such as “What is justice?” or “What is the best political system?” require us to have subjective policy preferences or make mere value judgments. Normative analysts counter by arguing that even if we cannot resolve such questions scientifically, they are worth asking because not all value judgments are arbitrary or based on mere prejudice. Confining the study of politics only to questions with answers we can measure, they argue, risks turning political science into an academic game of Trivial Pursuit.

Which Methodology Is Best? Given the complexity of human behavior, it is not surprising that experts argue over methodology, or how to do science. Positivism and the normative approach have each made notable contributions to the study of politics and government. Although the debate between them has cooled, it has divided the discipline for several decades and is likely to continue to do so for a long time to come.

The Political (Science) Puzzle Thus, political science, like politics, means different things to different people. Not only is the subject matter of politics difficult to define to everyone’s satisfaction, but it also is wide ranging and difficult to study without being broken down into more manageable pieces. Those pieces can take various shapes and forms. There is no perfect way to dismantle a discipline as all-encompassing as political science, but one useful way is to look at specialties and subfields that have emerged over time. Thus, some political scientists specialize in political theory, whereas others focus on U.S. government, comparative politics, international relations, political economy, or public administration. More specialized areas within these include constitutional law, a traditional specialty that focuses on a specific aspect of U.S. government, public policy,

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which stresses modern management techniques such as zero-based budgeting and cost accounting in both U.S. government and public administration, and political parties and interest groups, which falls within either U.S. government or comparative politics. Let’s look more closely at the five subfields into which political science programs are often divided.

Political Theory Normative political theory, or political philosophy, dates back to Plato (circa 400 BCE). Plato’s method in searching for the truth was to ask important questions: What is the good life? What is good government? Are people basically good or bad? When is revolution justified? Political theory tries to answer these questions through reason and logic supported by the writings of political thinkers, such as Aristotle, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke, and John Stuart Mill, among others. The aim of this type of inquiry is to make judgments as to right and wrong or good and bad. Because people who advocate change and those who oppose it both do so in the belief that they are morally right, understanding politics requires us to be familiar with the criteria by which policies and programs are judged good and bad.7 Normative theorists contend that without knowledge of the moral costs and consequences in politics, citizens and leaders alike will lack direction and a clear sense of purpose. There is a long-running debate in political science between “rational choice” theorists and “political culture” theorists. Advocates of rational choice theory emphasize the role of reason over emotion in human behavior. Political behavior, in this view, follows logical and even predictable patterns so long as we understand the key role of self-interest. This approach, which forms the basis for a theory of international relations known as political realism (see Chapter 17), holds that individuals and states alike act according to the logic of selfinterest. Other political scientists argue that rational choice theory is an oversimplification because states and groups are composed of human beings with disparate interests, perceptions, and beliefs. We cannot explain their behavior by reference to logic and rationality alone. Instead, the behavior of individuals and of groups is a product of specific influences that vary from place to place. We call such influences “culture”—if the behavior under investigation is political, it grows out of a process rooted in political culture. Rational choice and political culture theory are not mutually exclusive, and most political scientists do not adhere dogmatically to one or the other. Both contain important insights and we can best see them as complementary rather than conflicting.

U.S. Government Understanding our own political institutions is important. We can best achieve it by careful study of public opinion, voting behavior, party alignment, campaign financing, elections, race relations, and foreign policy. When we speak of U.S. government, our frame of reference changes depending on whether we mean national, state, or local politics. Similarly, when we study political behavior in the United States, it makes a big difference whether we are focusing on individual behavior or the behavior of groups such as

rational choice The role of reason over emotion in human behavior. Political behavior, in this view, follows logical and even predictable patterns so long as we understand the key role of self-interest. political realism The philosophy that power is the key variable in all political relationships and should be used pragmatically and prudently to advance the national interest; policies are judged good or bad on the basis of their effect on national interests, not on their level of morality.

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interest groups, ethnic groups, age cohorts, and the like. Political scientists who teach courses on U.S. government and politics are, in effect, engaging in civic education. Citizens in a democracy must understand how the government works, what rights they are guaranteed by the Constitution, and so on. U.S. politics also merits study because the United States is home to the oldest written constitution, the most powerful military establishment, and an economy second in size only to that of the European Union—none of which means the U.S. “model” of democracy is necessarily the best one.

Comparative Politics Comparative politics seeks to contrast and evaluate governments and political systems. Comparing forms of government, stages of economic development, domestic and foreign policies, and political traditions allows political scientists to formulate meaningful generalizations. Some comparative political scientists specialize in a particular region of the world or a particular nation. Others focus on a particular issue or political phenomenon, such as terrorism, political instability, or voting behavior. All political systems share certain characteristics. Figure 1.1 depicts one famous model, first formulated by political scientist David Easton in 1965. This model suggests that all political systems function within the context of political cultures, which consist of traditions, values, and common knowledge. It assumes citizens have expectations of and place demands on the political system. But they also support the system in various ways: They may participate in government, vote, or simply obey the laws of the state. The demands they make and supports they provide in turn influence the government’s decisions, edicts, laws, and orders.

FIGURE 1.1

A simplified model of the political system

SOURCE: Copyright© 1965, 1979 by David Easton. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.

ENVIRONMENT

Support

THE POLITICAL SYSTEM

ENVIRONMENT

Decisions and Actions

OUTPUTS

Demands INPUTS

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Countries, of course, differ in countless ways. Some political scientists see the differences among countries as being more significant than the similarities, and they differentiate among political systems in various ways. This text, for example, distinguishes among democratic, authoritarian, and totalitarian states. Some political scientists contrast only democratic and nondemocratic states. Others stress the economic context of politics in different places: in the postindustrial world (the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and Japan) and in the prospering states of east Asia (China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore); in the remnant of the communist world (Vietnam, North Korea, and Cuba); and in the developing countries. After the fall of Communism, the distinction between established liberal democracies and “transitional states” gained currency (see Chapter 8). Finally, some observers distinguish between viable states and so-called failed states (see Chapter 9).

International Relations Specialists in international relations analyze how nations interact. Why do nations sometimes live in peace and harmony but go to war at other times? The advent of the nuclear age, of course, brought new urgency to the study of international relations, but the threat of an allout nuclear war now appears far less menacing than other threats, including international terrorism, global warming, energy security, and, most recently, the economic meltdown. Thus, although war and peace are ever-present problems in international relations, they are by no means the only ones. The role of morality in foreign policy continues to be a matter of lively debate. Some political scientists, called realists, argue that considerations of national interest have always been paramount in international politics and always will be.8 In contrast, some idealists contend that morality-driven policies will lead to world peace and an end to the cycle of war that the realists accept fatalistically. Still others say the distinction between the national interest and international morality is exaggerated; that democracies, for example, derive mutual benefit from protecting each other and that in so doing they also promote world peace.9 Public Administration Essentially, public administration focuses on how a bureaucracy implements governmental policies, and what helps and hinders it in carrying out its functions. Although it usually emphasizes national government, public administration also looks at state and local government and intergovernmental relations. It examines bureaucratic structures, procedures, and processes in an attempt to improve efficiency and reduce waste and duplication. The field of public administration also studies bureaucratic behavior: How and why, for example, do bureaucracies develop vested interests and special relationships (such as between the Pentagon and defense contractors, or the Department of Commerce and trade associations) quite apart from the laws and policies they are established to implement? Political scientists who study public administration frequently concentrate on case studies, paying attention to whether governmental power is exercised in a manner consistent with the public interest. In this sense, public administration shares the concerns of political science as a whole.

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WHY STUDY POLITICS? A basic understanding of politics is a vital part of any undergraduate’s education. To realize the full benefits, make a sincere effort to learn and, above all, keep an open mind.

Self-Interest Because personal happiness depends in no small degree on what government does or does not do, we all have a considerable stake in understanding how government works (or why it is not working). To college students, for example, federal work-study programs, state subsidies to public education, low-interest loans, federal grants, and court decisions designed to protect (or not protect) students’ rights are political matters of great significance. Through the study of politics, we become more aware of our dependence on the political system and better equipped to determine when to favor and when to oppose change. At the same time, such study helps to reveal the limits of politics and of our ability to bring about positive change. It is sobering to consider that each of us is only one person in a nation of millions (and a world of billions), most of whom have opinions and prejudices no less firmly held than are our own.

The Public Interest What could be more vital to the public interest than the moral character and conduct of the citizenry? Civil society is defined by and reflected in the kinds of everyday decisions and choices made by ordinary people leading ordinary lives. At the same time, people are greatly influenced by civil society and the prevailing culture and climate of politics. People with very similar capabilities and desires can develop quite different moral standards, depending on the circumstances. Politics plays a vital role in shaping these circumstances, and it is fair to say the public interest hangs in the balance.

An Infamous Example The rise and fall of Nazi Germany (1933–1945) under Adolf Hitler illustrates the tremendous impact a political regime can have on the moral character of citizens. The political doctrine of Nazism was explicitly grounded in a doctrine of virulent racial supremacy. Hitler ranted about the superiority of the so-called Aryan race. The purity of the German nation was supposedly threatened with adulteration by inferior races, or untermenschen. Policies based on this weltanschauung (“worldview”) resulted in the systematic murder of millions of innocent men, women, and children. Approximately six million Jews and millions of others, including Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals, and people with disabilities, were killed in cold blood. During the Nazi era, the German nation appears, at first glance, to have become little more than an extension of Hitler’s will—in other words, the awesome moral responsibility for the Holocaust somehow rested on the shoulders

Why Study Politics?

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of one man, Adolf Hitler. But some dispute this interpretation. For example, according to Irving Kristol, When one studies the case of The Nazi there comes a sickening emptiness of the stomach and a sense of bafflement. Can this be all? The disparity between the crime and the criminal is too monstrous. We expect to find evil men, paragons of wickedness, slobbering, maniacal brutes; we are prepared to trace the lineaments of The Nazi on the face of every individual Nazi in order to define triumphantly the essential features of his character. But the Nazi leaders were not diabolists, they did not worship evil. For—greatest of ironies—the Nazis, like Adam and Eve before the fall, knew not of good and evil, and it is this cast of moral indifference that makes them appear so petty and colorless and superficial.10 One such person, according to political theorist Hannah Arendt, was Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi functionary who administered much of the extermination program. In Arendt’s view, Eichmann was not a particularly unusual man.11 He had a strong desire to get ahead, to be a success in life. He took special pride in his ability to do a job efficiently. Although not particularly thoughtful or reflective, he was intelligent. Arendt also describes Eichmann as somewhat insecure, but not noticeably more so than many “normal” people. Eichmann claimed to have no obsessive hatred toward Jews (although, obviously, he was not sufficiently skeptical or mentally independent to resist the widespread anti-Semitism that existed in Germany at that time). In short, Eichmann was morally indifferent; in Kristol’s words, he “knew not of good and evil.”

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Nazi mass murderer Adolf Eichmann: An ordinary man?

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If it is true that Adolf Eichmann was an ordinary man, why are there so few Eichmanns? In large measure, the answer can be found in the fortunate fact that the political regimes under which most people live are nothing like Nazi Germany. The Nazi experience was a crucial factor in shaping the personality and character of all the Eichmanns in Germany between the two world wars. Eichmann knew that his success would be measured largely in terms of a single criterion: efficiency. What mattered to Eichmann was not what he was doing but how well he did it. Very likely he would have discharged his responsibilities with equal zeal had he been in charge of park planning or flower planting rather than mass extermination. The banality of this evildoer and the magnitude of his evil are both appalling and instructive, for they accurately reflected Germany’s prevailing policies.12 The German leadership equated mass extermination with patriotism and the public interest. It would have required a rare combination of intellectual independence and moral courage not to go along with this prevailing view. Tragically, those were precisely the qualities countless people like Eichmann so sorely lacked. The lesson that the public interest can never be served by blind obedience to authority illustrates the importance of understanding politics.

GATEWAYS TO THE WORLD: EXPLORING CYBERSPACE On a recent afternoon, a Google search found 480 million sites for the keyword politics. Obviously, that is way too many for anyone to check out. Fortunately, there are gateways to politics on the World Wide Web. You just have to know where (or how) to look. One good place to start is at http://www.politicalinformation.com/. This site contains over 5,000 “carefully selected political and policy websites” in the following major categories: Campaigns and Elections, Commentary and News, Federal and State Government, Grassroots, Issues, Parties and Organizations, Portals and General Political Sites, and Research Tools. Each of these categories, in turn, is broken down into subcategories, which in turn are subdivided into more specific categories. As the size of this list indicates, you are not alone in your interest in this subject. Throughout the rest of this book, you will find more of these Gateways to the World, leading to a vast array of resources related to the material in a given chapter. You will find everything from suggested search terms to the uniform resource locators (URLs) of specific websites. These gateways will prove useful as you seek to learn about a concept in more depth or as you research and write papers. The URLs in this section will provide you with hints for getting involved in organizations that deal with issues relevant to the chapter. You should keep in mind that the Internet is constantly changing, so some of the sites to which this text refers may no longer be available.

Summary

http://cqpolitics.com/ Website for Congressional Quarterly, Inc., a subscription-based publisher of all things political Governing.com at http://www.governing.com/politics.htm Website for Governing, a monthly magazine from Congressional Quarterly, Inc., for state and local government officials http://www.politics1.com/ Claims to be “the most comprehensive guide to U.S. politics” http://www.politicalwire.com/ Offers up-to-date coverage of news and commentary about politics http://www.politicsnationwide.com/ Allows viewers to search a variety of categories, from voting to state executives

SUMMARY A good way for us to begin the study of politics is to focus on three fundamental concepts: power, order, and justice. If we understand the inter-relationships between power and order, order and justice, and justice and power, we will be well on our way to a deeper understanding of politics. Political power, which has many sources, can be defined as the capacity to act in the public arena. We see political power in action when the government promulgates a new law or when sovereign states sign treaties or go to war. In fact, we see the power of government in all sorts of ways: when we are assessed taxes, or fined for a traffic violation, or made to remove our shoes prior to boarding an airplane. When governments exercise power they often do it in the name of order. Power and authority are closely related: authority is the official exercise of authority. If we accept the rules and the rulers who make and enforce them, then government also enjoys legitimacy. Questions of justice arise if the public interest is not advanced by the exercise of governmental power or if society no longer accepts the authority of the government as legitimate. Political scientists seek to discover the truth about political institutions, forces, movements, and processes. Whereas traditional political scientists are interested in assessing the workings of government and shy away from normative questions, behaviorists use scientific methods to describe and predict political outcomes but generally try to avoid making value judgments. Almost all political scientists specialize in some topic, with the broadest subfields being political theory (or philosophy), U.S. government, comparative politics, international relations, and public administration. Among the many valid reasons for studying politics, two are worthy of special emphasis: (1) understanding politics is a matter of self-interest, and (2) by exploring politics, we gain a better appreciation of what is, and

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what is not, in the public interest. The critical importance of this awareness among ordinary citizens was tragically illustrated by the rise of Nazism in Germany.

KEY TERMS politics power authority legitimacy legitimate authority order community government

republic state sovereignty country nation nation-state multinational state stateless nation

justice methodology positivism normative approach behaviorism political realism rational choice

REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. On what three fundamental concepts is the study of politics based? 2. How does one identify a political problem? Are some conflicts more political than others? Explain. 3. How do political scientists differ from one another? 4. In what ways can individuals benefit from the study of politics and government?

RECOMMENDED READING Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, 3rd ed. New York: Verso, 2006. Explores the question: What makes people live, die, and kill in the name of nations? Aristotle. The Politics. Edited and translated by Ernest Barker. New York: Oxford University Press, 1962. An account of the necessity and value of politics. Bettelheim, Bruno. “Remarks on the Psychological Appeal of Totalitarianism.” Surviving and Other Essays. New York: Random House, 1980. Bettelheim provides an excellent account of the less obvious ways the Nazi regime imposed conformity and obedience on its citizens. Crick, Bernard. In Defense of Politics. Magnolia, MA: Peter Smith, 1994. An argument that politics is an important and worthy human endeavor. Drucker, Peter. “The Monster and the Lamb.” Atlantic (December 1978): 82–87. A short but moving account of the effects of the Nazi government on several individuals. Easton, David. The Political System: An Inquiry into the State of Political Science, 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981. A pioneering book that laid the foundation for a systems theory approach to political analysis. Gellner, Ernst. Nations and Nationalism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983. Argues that nationalism is an inescapable consequence of modernity.

Recommended Reading

Lewis, C. S. The Abolition of Man. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. An elegant discussion of the necessity of moral judgments. Manent, Pierre, translated by Marc LePain. A World Beyond Politics? A Defense of the NationState. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006. Asserts that both democracy and the nation-state are under threat today and argues that the notion we would be better off without nations or politics or national politics is an illusion. Milgram, Stanley. Obedience to Authority. New York: HarperCollins, 1983. A report on a series of social science experiments that demonstrated the degree to which many individuals obey authority. Mueller, Dennis C. Public Choice III. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. An elegant survey of public choice theory, which emphasizes the rational side of political behavior and the logic in political institutions, policies, and actions. Pollock III, Phillip H. The Essentials of Political Analysis. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2009. The author discusses facts and values in the introduction; the rest of the book elucidates how political scientists engage in empirical research using the tools of statistical analysis. Schmitt, Carl, Tracy B. Strong, Leo Strauss, and George Schwab. The Concept of the Political: Expanded Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. The title says it all. Strauss, Leo. “What Is Political Philosophy?” What Is Political Philosophy? and Other Studies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988. A cogent introduction to the value and necessity of political philosophy. Tinder, Glenn. Political Thinking: The Perennial Questions, 6th ed. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1995. A topical consideration of great and lasting controversies in politics.

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Campaigning for the presidency in 2007, Barack Obama declared that the war in Iraq “was based on a flawed ideology” and called on the United States to “lead the world, by deed and example”; in early 2009 newly elected President Obama announced a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, promised to close the Guantanamo detention center, and ordered an end to harsh interrogation methods (such as waterboarding) widely denounced as torture.

The Idea of the Public Good Ideologies and Isms

Political Ends and Means Ideologies and the Public Good Antigovernment Ideologies Ideologies of the Right Ideologies of the Left Ideologies and Politics in the United States The Uses and Abuses of Labels Common Themes Conservatives: The Primacy of Economic Rights Liberals: The Primacy of Civil Rights Essential Differences The “Values Divide” and the War on Terror Conservatives, Liberals, and Public Policy Choosing Sides

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CHAPTER 2 The Idea of the Public Good

I

n Lewis Carroll’s classic tale, popularly known as Alice in Wonderland, Alice, who has lost her way in a dense forest, encounters the Cheshire Cat who is sitting on a tree branch. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” asks Alice. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” replies the Cat. “I don’t much care where,” says Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” muses the Cat. Like Alice lost in the forest, we too occasionally find ourselves adrift. Governments and societies are no different. Political leadership can be woefully deficient or hopelessly divided as to what course of action is best in a crisis or what to do about the economy or the environment or health care or a new threat to national security. Intelligent decisions, as Alice’s encounter with the Cheshire Cat illustrates, can take place only after we have set clear aims and goals. Before politics can effectively convert mass energy (society) into collective effort (government), which is the essence of public policy, we need a consensus on where we want to go or what we want to be as a society a year from now or perhaps ten years up the road. Otherwise, our leaders, like the rest of us, cannot possibly know how to get there. This is why it is so essential for citizens in a democracy to be politically literate. There are always plenty of people eager to tell us what to think, but in this book we will learn how to think about politics.

POLITICAL ENDS AND MEANS public good The shared beliefs of a political community as to what goals government ought to attain (for example, to achieve the fullest possible measure of security, prosperity, equality, liberty, or justice for all citizens).

In politics, ends and means are inextricably intertwined. Implicit in debates over public policy is a belief in the idea of the public good, and that it is the government’s role to identify and pursue aims of benefit to society as a whole rather than to favored individuals. But the focus of policy debates is often explicitly about means rather than ends. For example, politicians may disagree over whether a tax cut at a particular time will help promote the common good (prosperity) by encouraging saving and investment, balancing the national budget, reducing the rate of inflation, and so on. Although they disagree about the best monetary and fiscal strategies, both sides would agree that economic growth and stability is a proper aim of government. In political systems with no curbs on executive authority, where the leader has unlimited power, government may have little to do with the public interest.1 In constitutional democracies, by contrast, the public good is associated with core values such as security, prosperity, equality, liberty, and justice (see Chapter 13). These goals are the navigational guides for keeping the ship of state on course. Arguments about whether to tack this way or that, given the prevailing political currents and crosswinds, are the essence of public policy debates.

Ideologies and the Public Good

29

IDEOLOGIES AND THE PUBLIC GOOD The concept of Left and Right originated in the European parliamentary practice of seating parties that favor social and political change to the left of the presiding officer, and those opposing change (or favoring a return to a previous form of government) to the right. “You are where you sit,” in other words. Today people may have only vague ideas about government or how it works or what it is actually doing at any given time.2 Even so, many lean one way or another, toward conservative or liberal views. When people go beyond merely leaning and adopt a rigid, closed system of political ideas, however, they cross a line and enter the realm of ideology. Ideologies act as filters that true believers (or adherents) use to interpret events, explain human behavior, and justify political action. The use of labels—or “isms” as they are often called—is a kind of shorthand that, ideally, facilitates political thought and debate rather than becoming a way to discredit one’s political opponents. One note of caution: these labels do not have precisely the same meaning everywhere. Thus, what is considered “liberal” in the United Kingdom might be considered “conservative” in the United States (see Figure 2.1). Conservatives in the United States typically favor a strong national defense, deregulation of business and industry, and tax cuts on capital gains (income from stocks, real estate, and other investments) and inheritances. They often staunchly oppose welfare on the grounds that “giveaway” programs reward the lazy. Until the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s, conservatives often led the fight for balanced budgets. By contrast, liberals tend to favor public assistance programs, cuts in military spending, a progressive tax system (one that levies higher taxes on higher incomes), and governmental regulation in such areas as the food and drug industry, occupational safety and health, housing, transportation, and energy.

FIGURE 2.1

FOCUS Conservative or Liberal?

U.S. Conservatives*

British Liberals§

Constitutionalism

Yes

Yes

Religious tolerance

Yes

Yes

Market economy

Yes

Yes

Protectionism

No

No

Pacifism

No

No

* Values historically associated with the Republican Party in the United States, though not necessarily with the policies of any given administration or president §

Values historically associated the Whig Party in the United Kingdom, often called classical liberalism

ideology Any set of fixed, predictable ideas held by politicians and citizens on how to serve the public good.

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CHAPTER 2 The Idea of the Public Good

The entire political spectrum is shifted toward the right in the United States, which is why liberals in the United States look a lot like conservatives in most European countries. Leftists in Europe often belong to Socialist parties, but there is no viable Socialist party in the United States. Prior to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s makeover of the Conservative Party after 1979, many British Conservatives resembled Democrats (“liberals”) in the United States as much or more than Republicans (“conservatives”). In this chapter, we group ideologies under three headings: antigovernment ideologies, right-wing ideologies, and left-wing ideologies. Left and Right are very broad categories, however, and there are many shades of gray on both sides of the political spectrum. Only when the political system becomes severely polarized, as it did in Germany between the two world wars, are people forced to choose between black and white. In the two-party system of the United States, the choice is limited to red (Republican) and blue (Democrat). Up until September 11, 2001, both parties were typically closer to the center than to either extreme. After 9/11, however, this pattern changed as the political climate became more polarized and partisan, as evidenced by the vicious mud-slinging in the 2008 presidential campaign and the vitriolic rhetoric of right-wing media figures like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. We turn first to a consideration of ideologies that oppose not only the existing form of government but also the very idea of government.

Antigovernment Ideologies anarchism A system that opposes in principle the existence of any form of government, often through violence and lawlessness. nihilism A philosophy that holds that the total destruction of all existing social and political institutions is a desirable end in itself. libertarianism A system based on the belief that government is a necessary evil that should interfere with individual freedom and privacy as little as possible; also known as minimalism.

Opposition to government in principle is anarchism. The Russian revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876), who reveled in the “joy of destruction” and called for violent uprisings by society’s beggars and criminals, is often considered the father of modern anarchism. A close relative of anarchism is nihilism, which glorifies destruction as an end in itself rather than as a means to overthrow the existing system or rebuild society. Extremely malevolent ideologies of this kind have, fortunately, had relatively little impact outside prerevolutionary Russia (and possibly Spain), although terrorism is perhaps inspired by anarchistic impulses at times. Proponents of libertarianism would object to being put in the same category as anarchists. Although they are not opposed to government as such, they do agree with the oft-quoted axiom, “That government is best, which governs least” and they tend to be quite dogmatic about it. (For this reason, they are sometimes called minimalists.) Libertarians value individual freedom above all and oppose government regulation—even measures aimed at public safety or income security for the elderly. They interpret the right to privacy in the broadest possible way. Thus, doctrinaire libertarians defend the right of a citizen to print and distribute pornographic materials no matter how obscene or repugnant those materials might be to the majority (including most libertarians), and they oppose a military draft on the ground that joining the armed forces ought to be a matter of personal choice.

Ideologies and the Public Good

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Ideologies of the Right At the opposite end of the political spectrum are ideologies like monarchism that stress the paramount importance of a central authority and political order. Until the twentieth century, monarchy was the prevalent form of government throughout the world. Whether they were called kings or emperors, czars or sultans, sheiks or shahs, monarchs once ruled the world. Today, royalists or monarchists are rare, but it was not always so. Aristotle regarded monarchy— rule by a wise king—as the best form of government (although he recognized that wise kings, as opposed to tyrants, were very rare). However archaic it may look to modern eyes, monarchism is not dead. Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the oil-rich Persian Gulf ministates, as well as Bhutan, Brunei, and Swaziland, are still monarchies. Jordan and Morocco are limited monarchies; in both countries, the chief executive rules for life by virtue of royal birth rather than merit, mandate, or popular election. Most other countries that still pay lip service to monarchism are, in fact, constitutional monarchies in which the king or queen is a figurehead. The United Kingdom is the example we know best in the United States, but Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden all have monarchs as titular rulers. After World War I, fascism superseded monarchism as the principal ideology of the extreme Right. In Germany, National Socialism—more commonly known as Nazism—was a particularly virulent form of this ideology (see Chapter 6). Predicated on the “superiority” of one race or nation and demanding abject obedience to authority, fascism exerted a powerful influence in Europe and South America from the 1920s to the 1940s. The prime examples in history are the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) in World War II, but other oftenoverlooked instances of fascism existed in this period as well—Spain, Hungary, and Argentina to cite but three. Despite its elitist and exclusionary character, fascism enjoyed genuine mass appeal, in part due to its ultra-nationalism. In addition to this heavy stress on the concept of nation or ethnic group (and, in Hitler’s case, race), fascism had varied ideological roots, including romanticism, xenophobia, populism, and even a hierarchical, non-egalitarian form of socialism (see below). One of the distinguishing features of many extreme right-wing ideologies is a blatant appeal to popular prejudices and hatred.3 Such an appeal often strikes a responsive chord when large numbers of people, who are part of the racial or ethnic majority, have either not shared fully in the benefits of society or have individually and collectively suffered severe financial reversals. In turbulent times, people are prone to follow a demagogue, to believe in conspiracy theories, and to seek scapegoats, such as a racial, ethnic, or religious minority group; an opposing political party; a foreign country; and the like. Xenophobia and antipathy to foreigners, immigrants, and even tourists, has been on the rise in many European countries (including France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) and in the United States since the 1990s. Remnants of the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) have lingered, as well.

monarchism A system based on the belief that political power should be concentrated in one person (for example, a king) who rules by decree. royalist One who favors absolutism or rule by an all-powerful monarch. monarchist One who supports the idea of absolute rule based on divine right or any other principle of hereditary rule; most often associated with pre-modern times, when kings ruled over feudal systems and land ownership was a matter of aristocratic entitlement. fascism A totalitarian political system that is headed by a popular charismatic leader and in which a single political party and carefully controlled violence form the bases of complete social and political control. Fascism differs from communism in that the economic structure, although controlled by the state, is privately owned.

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CHAPTER 2 The Idea of the Public Good

© PAT SULLIVAN/AP PHOTO

Hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan feed on ignorance, prejudice, and fear and often use racial or religious differences to create a scapegoat. As human beings, we want simple answers, quick fixes, and someone to blame when things go wrong.

Nazism Officially called National Socialism, Nazism is a form of fascism based on extreme nationalism, militarism, and racism; the ideology associated with Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust.

This notion of racial superiority, now confined to a lunatic fringe, nonetheless supplies an underlying rationale for a whole range of radical policies dealing with immigration (foreigners must be kept out), civil rights (African Americans, Jews, and other minorities are genetically inferior and do not deserve the same constitutional protections as whites), and foreign policy (threats to white America must be met with deadly force). At the far-right extreme, these groups are organized along paramilitary lines, engage in various survivalist practices, and preach violence. Although the KKK has largely faded from view, it still has die-hard followers, including some in law enforcement. In February 2009, the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the firing of State Highway Patrol trooper Robert Henderson for his ties to the KKK. The KKK’s long history of violence toward African-Americans—symbolized by the white sheets worn by its members and the crosses set ablaze at rallies—has made it synonymous with bigotry and racial intolerance.

The Religious Right The religious right in the United States emerged as an important nationwide political force in 1980. The election as president of a conservative Republican, Ronald Reagan, both coincided with and accelerated efforts to create a new right-wing political coalition in the United States. The coalition that emerged combined the modern political techniques of mass mailings, extensive political fund raising, and the repeated use of the mass media (especially television) with a call for the restoration of traditional values,

Ideologies and the Public Good

33

including an end to abortion, the reinstatement of prayer in public schools, a campaign against pornography, the recognition of the family as the basis of U.S. life, and a drive to oppose communism relentlessly on every front. This movement contained a core of fundamentalist or evangelical Christians, called the New Right, who saw politics as an outgrowth of their core religious values. Beginning in the 1980s, television evangelists such as the late Jerry Falwell (who spearheaded a movement called the Moral Majority) and Pat Robertson (who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988) gained a mass following. The far right suffered a setback in 1992 when Pat Buchanan’s presidential bid also fizzled. Many viewed the election of George W. Bush, who openly courted the fundamentalist Christian vote, as a victory for the religious right. Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists, along with other evangelical groups, joined forces in a new kind of coalition against what many regular churchgoers saw as an alarming upsurge in immorality and sinful behavior, including abortion, gay marriage, and the teaching of evolution in public schools. The last issue, along with stem cell research, pitted religion against science. The Christian Coalition, another conservative group, has roots in the Pentecostal church. Boasting as many as one million members, the Christian Coalition produces and distributes a kind of morality scorecard, evaluating political candidates’ positions on key issues from the perspective of religious dogma. Its members focus on getting elected to local school boards in order to advocate for patriotism (as opposed to multiculturalism), religion, and a return to the basics in education. The Christian Coalition’s success raised two serious questions. First, was the Christian Coalition best understood as a well-meaning effort by decent citizens to participate in the political arena, or as a dangerously divisive blurring by

© SHUTTERSTOCK

Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin addressing a crowd during the 2008 presidential campaign.

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capitalism An economic system in which individuals own the means of production and can legally amass unlimited personal wealth. Capitalist theory holds that governments should not impose any unnecessary restrictions on economic activity and that the laws of supply and demand can best regulate the economy. In a capitalist system, the private sector (mainly business and consumers), rather than government, makes most of the key decisions about production, employment, savings, investment, and the like. The opposite of a centrally planned economy such as existed in the Soviet Union under Stalin and Stalin’s successors.

CHAPTER 2 The Idea of the Public Good

religious bigots of the separation between church and state? Second, was it an interest group or a political party? The midterm elections in 2006 and the presidential election in 2008 were both resounding defeats for the policies of George W. Bush and the Republican Party, raising the possibility of a popular backlash against the rising influence of religious fundamentalism in U.S. politics. Presidential candidate John McCain’s surprise choice of Sarah Palin, the relatively obscure governor of Alaska and an unabashed religious fundamentalist, as his running mate, turned out to be a serious misstep. So it is likely that the political potency of the religious right in U.S. politics is declining. Some critics even suggest revoking the tax-exempt status of religious establishments that cross the line and transform themselves into political movements.4

Capitalism By far the most prevalent and powerful ideology in the United States, Europe, and Asia today is capitalism. Even in Communist China, where Maoism remains the official ideology, capitalism is the engine driving the amazing revitalization of the economy since the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 (Figure 2.2). The collapse of communism and its explicit rejection of private property, the profit motive, and social inequality was a triumphant moment for proponents of free enterprise and the free-market economy. Indeed, the Cold

FIGURE 2.2 Since the 1990s, China’s economy has made the “great leap forward” that Mao Zedong had promised in the late 1950s but that communism never delivered. Prior to the global recession in 2008–2009, China’s share of global GDP was expected to reach 19 percent by 2015, while U.S. and EU shares were expected to continue on a downward trend. SOURCE: Economist, March 29, 2007, at http://www.economist.com/surveys/displayStory.cfm? story_id=8880918.

1

Coming up in the world Share of world GDP*, % of total

30 EU 25 20

United States Rest of Asia

15 China Japan

10 5

1980

85

90

95

2000

∗At purchasing-power parity

06†

0

†Estimate

Ideologies and the Public Good

War was in no small measure an ideological contest between the United States and the Soviet Union over this very issue. In the contemporary world, capitalism is the ideology of mainline conservatives; at the same time, however, it is a basic feature of classical liberalism. In the United States, it is the Republican Party that most enthusiastically embraces capitalism, although few Democrats in Congress ever dare to denounce big business. However disappointing or frustrating this fact may be to some rank-and-file voters, it is not difficult to discern the reasons for it. Capitalism is the ideology of big business, as well as of powerful Washington lobbies, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. It also provides the moral and philosophical justification for the often ruthless practices of multinational corporations (MNCs), such as Walmart, Microsoft, McDonald’s, and Wall Street financiers, practices that would otherwise appear to be based on nothing more high-minded than the idea that “greed is good.” The U.S. actor Michael Douglas won an Academy Award for his performance in Wall Street, a 1987 film in which his “Master of the Universe” character spoke those very words. What is capitalism? It means different things to different people. It can refer to an economic theory based on the principles found in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (discussed later in this chapter). Or it can mean an ideology that elevates the virtues of freedom and independence, individualism and initiative, invention and innovation, risk-taking and reward for success. We can also view it as an elaborate myth system used to justify the class privileges of a wealthy elite and the exploitation of the workers who produce society’s wealth. The latter interpretation, of course, derives most notably from the writings of Karl Marx (see “Communism” section in this chapter). As an economic theory, capitalism stresses the role of market forces—mainly supply and demand—in regulating economic activity; determining prices, values, and costs; and allocating scarce resources. In theory it opposes government interference, and in practice it opposes government regulation. It applauds the notion that, in the words of President Calvin Coolidge, “the business of America is business.” Capitalism’s proponents, however, often assume we have a free market operating solely on the principles of supply and demand; they seldom consider whether it really exists. In fact, the free market is a myth, useful for public relations or propaganda but not for understanding how modern economies actually work. No modern economy can function without all sorts of rules and regulations. The question is not whether rules are necessary, but rather who makes the rules and in whose interests. The key to the success of a market economy is competition, not de-regulation. As an ideology, capitalism opposes high taxes (especially on business), social welfare, and government giveaways. Conservatives tend to believe wealth is a sign of success and a reward for virtue. Rich people deserve to be rich. Poverty is the fault of poor people themselves, who are lazy, indolent, and irresponsible. Relieving poverty is the job of charity and the church, not government. Capitalists also tend (or pretend) to believe in the trickle-down theory: if the most enterprising members of society are permitted to succeed and to reinvest wealth rather than handing it all over to the tax collector, the economy will grow, prosperity will trickle down to the lower levels, and everybody will be better off.

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CHAPTER 2 The Idea of the Public Good

© CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

Critics of capitalism argue that the free market is a fiction, and that big business only pretends to support deregulation and the increased competition it fosters. Meanwhile it routinely seeks tax favors, subsidies, and regulatory concessions and fights antitrust legislation at every turn. Revelations of largescale fraud and corruption in recent years, symbolized by such fallen corporate outlaws as Enron and WorldCom, had badly stained the image of U.S. business even before the financial meltdown in the fall of 2008. But then came the failure of major investment firms like Lehman Brothers, Wachovia, and Merrill Lynch in 2008, followed by bailouts of the U.S. automakers and banks teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The U.S. Justice Department filed criminal charges against prominent financiers such as Bernie Madoff and Robert Allen Stanford for carrying off the biggest financial scams in U.S. history—resulting in massive loss of public trust in business, banks, and Wall Street. One measure of how far the corporate sector had fallen in the public esteem: the insurance giant AIG (American International Group) saw its stock plunge from a 52-week high of $52.25 to a low of 38 cents in February 2009. Another U.S. company that has given capitalism a bad name in recent years is Halliburton, along with its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR). Halliburton was accused of exploiting close ties to former Vice President Dick Cheney to obtain multibillion dollar no-bid government contracts in Iraq, while engaging in unethical or illegal business practices including committing accounting fraud, bribing foreign officials, and operating in Iran despite U.S. government sanctions against doing business there. Cheney, who retired as chair and CEO of Halliburton in 2000 so he could be George W. Bush’s running mate, received $34 million in severance pay and another $8 million in stock options from the company. Critics of capitalism often allege collusion between big government and big business. In the minds of his critics, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who famously espoused the doctrine that “greed is good,” is a notorious case in point. Cheney served as Secretary of Defense from 1989 to 1993. When he left the government he became the chair and CEO of a major defense contractor called Halliburton. Was it a mere coincidence that the U.S. Department of Defense awarded billions of dollars in no-bid contracts to Halliburton to support military operations in Iraq beginning in 2002, and that Cheney, a vociferous war hawk, was then back in the government as the most powerful vice president in U.S. history?

Ideologies and the Public Good

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Ideologies of the Left Left-wing ideologies propose a view of human beings living together cooperatively, freed of demeaning and invidious social distinctions. In the realm of economics, these ideologies are often rooted in the principle of collectivism, which holds that the public good is best served by common (as opposed to individual) ownership and administration of the political community’s means of production and distribution. Collectivism is fundamentally opposed to the theory of capitalism, which contends that individual ownership of the means of production, in the form of private wealth (capital), offers the most efficient and equitable way of enriching the community as a whole. In modern times, the collectivist principle has been expressed most often in the form of socialism, which we can define as “an ideology that rejects individualism, private ownership, and private profits in favor of a system based on economic collectivism, governmental, societal, or industrialgroup ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods, and social responsibility.”5 The French revolutionary François-Noël Babeuf (1760–1797), who advocated economic equality and common ownership of land, is the father of modern socialism. Babeuf’s ideas were adapted and moderated by the so-called utopian socialists, including the Comte de Saint-Simon (1760–1825) and Charles Fourier (1772–1837), who envisioned an ideal (utopian) society based on collectivism, cooperation, and benevolence. Louis Blanc (1811–1882), who was active in worker uprisings in 1848, advocated a more down-to-earth form of socialism, including the establishment of worker-controlled councils and workshops. Out of this ferment evolved the theories and methods espoused by most left-wing ideologies, from revolutionary communism to democratic socialism.

Communism An extreme left-wing ideology, communism has also been named Marxism after its founder Karl Marx (1818–1883). Marx and his associate Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) broke with the more benign utopian socialists, asserting that a radical transformation of society could be attained only by open class conflict. The scientific “laws” of history preordained the conflict’s outcome—the overthrow of “monopoly capitalism.” Its preference for a proletarian (working class) revolution distinguishes Marxism, or communism, from other approaches to socialism. Marx and Engels opened the famous Communist Manifesto (1848) with the bold assertion, “All history is the history of class struggle.” This statement is based on two premises: (1) economic or material, forces are behind all human activities, and (2) in history, change and progress are produced by a constant clash of conflicting economic forces—or, to use the term borrowed from the German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel (1770–1831), by a process Marxists call the dialectic or dialectical materialism. All societies, Marx contended, evolve through the same historical stages, each of which represents a dominant economic pattern (the thesis) that contains the seeds of a new and conflicting pattern (the antithesis). Out of the inevitable clash between thesis and antithesis comes a synthesis, or new economic stage. The Industrial Revolution was, according

collectivism The belief that the public good is best served by common (as opposed to individual) ownership of a political community’s means of production and distribution. socialism An ideology favoring collective and government ownership over individual or private ownership. utopian socialist Individuals who believed that public ownership of property could be effectively

communism A political system based on radical equality; the antithesis of capitalism.

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Marxism The political philosophy of Karl Marx (1818–1883), who theorized that the future belonged to the industrial underclass (‘‘proletariat’’) and that a ‘‘classless society’’ would eventually replace one based on social distinctions (classes) tied to property ownership. During the Cold War (1947–1991), the term was often mistakenly applied to everyone who embraced the ideology or sympathized with the policies of the Soviet Union or the People’s Republic of China against the West. proletarian In Marxist theory, a member of the working class. dialectical materialism (dialectic) Karl Marx’s theory of historical progression, according to which economic classes struggle with one another, producing an evolving series of economic systems that will lead, ultimately, to a classless society. bourgeoisie In Marxist ideology, the capitalist class. law of capitalist accumulation According to Karl Marx, the invariable rule that stronger capitalists, motivated solely by greed, will gradually eliminate weaker competitors and gain increasing control of the market.

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to Marx, the capitalist stage of history, which succeeded the feudal stage when the bourgeoisie (urban artisans and merchants) wrested political and economic power from the feudal landlords. The laws of history (dialectical materialism), which made the rise of capitalism inevitable, also make conflict between capitalists and the proletariat inevitable; the same laws also guarantee the outcome. (We discuss the utopian idea of the classless society in Chapter 3.) Marxist theory holds that the main feature of modern industrial capitalism is the streamlining of society into two antagonistic classes—the capitalists, who own the means of production, and the proletariat, who have no choice but to work long hours for subsistence wages. The difference between those wages and the value of the products created through the workers’ labor is surplus value, or excessive profits, which the capitalists pocket. In this way, capitalists systematically exploit the workers and unwittingly lay the groundwork for a proletarian revolution. This revolution, according to Marx and his adherents, will come about in the following way. Under the so-called law of capitalist accumulation, capitalists must expand at the expense of their competitors or be driven from the marketplace. As the stronger capitalists expand, they eliminate the weaker ones and capture an ever-increasing share of the market. Eventually, the most successful competitors in this dog-eat-dog contest force all the others out, thus ushering in the era of monopoly capitalism, which immediately precedes the downfall of the whole capitalist system. Why should capitalism be overthrown at this stage, when it appears that the monopoly capitalists have taken the reins of power? Because, according to Marx, the gap between rich and poor gets wider and wider. As human labor is replaced by more cost-effective machine labor, unemployment grows, purchasing power dwindles, and domestic markets shrink. This built-in tendency toward business recession and depression, in turn, gives rise to still more unemployment and even lower wages, as the downward spiral continues. Countless human beings become surplus labor—jobless, penniless, and hopeless. According to the law of pauperization, this result is inescapable. For orthodox Marxists, the “crisis of capitalism” and the resulting proletarian revolution are equally inevitable. Because capitalists will not relinquish their power, privilege, or property without a struggle, the overthrow of capitalism can occur only through violent revolution. The belief that violent mass action is necessary to bring about radical change was central to the theories of Marx’s follower Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924), the founder of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the foremost leader of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Lenin argued that parliamentary democracy and “bourgeois legality” were mere superstructures designed to mask the underlying reality of capitalist exploitation. As a result, these revolutionaries disdained the kind of representative institutions prevalent in the United States and Western Europe. With the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Marxism-Leninism has lost a great deal of its luster (see Box 2.1). Even so, the doctrine retains some appeal among the poor and downtrodden, primarily due to its crusading spirit and its promise of deliverance from the injustices of “monopoly capitalism.”6 After World War II, communism spearheaded or sponsored “national wars of liberation” aimed at the overthrow of existing

Ideologies and the Public Good

BOX 2.1 FOCUS ON

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MARXISM AND DEMOCRACY

FIGURE 2.3 The leaders of three Latin American democracies (shaded here) have expressed Marxist ideas and adopted anticapitalist rhetoric and policies. Cuba (also shaded) has been a nondemocratic Marxist state since the late 1950s.

Tropic of Cancer Dom. Rep.

Cuba Jamaica

Haiti

Honduras

Caribbean Sea

Nicaragua Panama Venezuela

Costa Rica

Guyana Suriname Colombia

Equator

Ecuador

Brazil

Peru

Bolivia

Paraguay

Marxist ideology has never gained a toehold in the United States. Indeed, very few U.S. citizens have any sympathy for socialism or communism to this day. Yet in many other parts of the world, Marxist parties have flourished. In Eastern Europe, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and many

other Third World countries, Communist or Socialist parties dominated the political scene for most of the second half of the twentieth century. Especially in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Marxists spearheaded “national wars of liberation” aimed at the overthrow of existing governments. In many other countries, most notably in Western Europe, non-ruling Communist parties achieved democratic respectability. The Communist parties of France, Italy, and Spain, to cite three examples, were (and still are) legally recognized parties that regularly participated in national elections and, occasionally, in coalition governments, whereas Socialist parties are mainstream political parties throughout Europe. In the 1970s, Communist Party leaders in Italy and Spain led a movement called Eurocommunism. They sought to change society from within by winning elections, thus downplaying such timehonored tenets of revolutionary Marxism as the advocacy of violent revolution, belief in the dictatorship of the proletariat, and democratic centralism (which demands strict obedience to the party line and forbids dissent). Although the power and influence of Marxist parties declined after the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, it has by no means disappeared. After the “Plural Left” coalition won the French parliamentary elections in May 1997, three Communists were appointed to the cabinet of Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. In recent years, the elected leaders of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, who are pictured here, have all expressed sympathy with Marxist ideas and have embraced socialist policies.

governments, especially in the Third World. Since the collapse of communism in Europe, however, the revolutionary role played by the Soviet state and Marxist ideology on the world stage has given way to Islamism—not Islam, the religion, but Islamism, an anti-Western ideological offshoot that seeks to restore the moral purity of Islamic societies (see Chapter 15).

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law of pauperization In Karl Marx’s view, the rule that capitalism has a built-in tendency toward recession and unemployment, and thus workers inevitably become surplus labor. Marxism-Leninism In the history of the Russian Revolution, Lenin’s anticapitalist rationale for the overthrow of the czar (absolute monarch) and the establishment of a new political order based on communist principles set forth in the writings of Karl Marx. democratic socialism A form of government based on popular elections, public ownership and control of the main sectors of the economy, and broad welfare programs in health and education to benefit citizens. gradualism The belief that major changes in society should take place slowly, through reform, rather than suddenly, through revolution. welfare state A state whose government is concerned with providing for the social welfare of its citizens and does so usually with specific public policies, such as health insurance, minimum wages, and housing subsidies.

CHAPTER 2 The Idea of the Public Good

Democratic Socialism As the other main branch of socialist ideology, democratic socialism embraces collectivist ends, but it is committed to democratic means. Unlike orthodox Marxists, democratic socialists believe in gradualism, or reform, rather than revolution, but they hold to the view that social justice cannot be achieved without substantial economic equality. They also tend to favor a greatly expanded role for government and a tightly regulated economy. Most socialist parties advocate the nationalization of key parts of the economy—transportation, communications, public utilities, banking and finance, insurance, and such basic industries as automobile manufacturing, iron and steel processing, mining, and energy. The modern-day welfare state, wherein government assumes broad responsibility for the health, education, and welfare of its citizens, is the brainchild of European social democracy. The goal of the welfare state is to alleviate poverty and inequality through large-scale income redistribution. Essentially a cradle-to-grave system, the welfare state typically features free or subsidized university education and medical care, generous public assistance (family allowances), pension plans, and a variety of other social services. To finance these programs and services, socialists advocate heavy taxation, including steeply progressive income taxes and stiff inheritance taxes designed to close the gap between rich and poor. After World War II, democratic socialism had a major impact in Western Europe. Classic examples existed in the United Kingdom and the Scandinavian countries, but the welfare state was (and remains) the norm in Europe, where even the former Communist states are making the transition from central planning and a radically egalitarian society that left little room for a middle class to market economies that mimic the welfare-state model. Ironically, with a few exceptions such as Denmark and Sweden, the political appeal of democratic socialism in Western Europe appeared to be fading in the 1990s. The global recession in the second half of 2008, however, greatly enhanced the popular appeal of social democracy—the flip side of plummeting public trust in the financial markets and business elites. Until the fall of 2008, democratic socialism as an organized political force had little impact on postwar politics in the United States. In 1932, in the early stages of the Great Depression, Socialist candidate Norman Thomas polled nearly 900,000 votes, but that result amounted to barely more than 2 percent of the total votes cast. Surprisingly, the elections of 1912 and 1920, immediately before and after World War I, rather than the Great Depression era, represent the high-water marks of socialism in the United States. Why? U.S. adults tend to be individualistic and distrustful of “big government.” In addition, they came to identify socialism with communism, communism with Stalinism, and Stalinism with the totalitarian state. After World War II, the Soviet Union became the enemy of the Free World—the “evil empire” as President Ronald Reagan called it. Nonetheless, many public programs that are now firmly entrenched resemble measures associated with the welfare state. Examples include Social Security, Medicare, family assistance, unemployment compensation, and federally subsidized housing. Still, compared with most Europeans, U.S. citizens do pay less in taxes but also get considerably less in

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social benefits—except for the privileged professional military class, who enjoy cradle-to-grave benefits that would make even the most ardent socialist blush.

IDEOLOGIES AND POLITICS IN THE UNITED STATES U.S. politics is essentially a tug-of-war between liberals and conservatives. Because these two terms often generate confusion, and because it is difficult to understand the central issues in U.S. politics apart from the liberal–conservative distinction, let us analyze these two approaches to the public good.

The Uses and Abuses of Labels U.S.-style liberalism and conservatism evolved from a 300-year-old liberal tradition in Western political thought that sees the safeguarding of individual rights as the central aim and purpose of government. Today, liberals typically stress social and political rights, whereas conservatives highlight economic rights. Liberals and conservatives alike champion freedom and fundamental rights, but they argue about which rights are fundamental. Liberals generally favor narrowing the gap between rich and poor, whereas conservatives tend toward a minimalist definition of equality (for example, equal rights = the right to vote, equal opportunity = the right to basic education, and the like). In general, liberals typically define equality broadly in social, political, and economic terms; conservatives tend to confine equality to the political realm. Several factors blur the distinction between liberalism and conservatism in the United States. First, although there are always plenty of doctrinaire liberals and conservatives eager to sound off on television talk shows, in practice voters in the United States tend to be more pragmatic than dogmatic. Barack Obama’s unsuccessful attempt to reduce partisan bickering and enlist the support of moderate Republicans in dealing with the economic crisis in 2009, however, reminds us that politicians are not always in step with the voters. Second, although politicians often make bold campaign promises, few have been willing to lead the charge for radical reform (for example, campaign finance reform, health care reform, or bank nationalization). Third, liberals and conservatives sometimes come down on the same side of an issue. For example, libertarians oppose restrictions on the sale, display, distribution, or ownership of any kind of reading material, as do most liberals, but there are activists on the left (radical feminists, for example) who favor a ban on “dirty” books, arguing that pornography exploits and degrades women. Of course, many members of the Religious Right also oppose pornography, as do many others who are middleof-the-road on most other issues.

liberal A political philosophy that emphasizes individualism, equality, and civil rights above other values (see also conservative). conservative A political philosophy that emphasizes prosperity, security, and tradition above other values (see also liberal).

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Common Themes Liberalism and conservatism represent variations on principles found in the political philosophy of John Locke.7 These principles, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, hold that all human beings are created equal; that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, including the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Jefferson’s expansion of Locke’s “right to property”); and that government exists to protect these rights. Furthermore, governmental legitimacy derives from consent of the governed rather than royal birth or divine right. When government becomes alienated from the society it exists to serve, the people have the right to alter or abolish it. Indeed, the purposes of government are clearly spelled out in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution: to “ . . . establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty.” As we are about to discover, however, these stirring words are also an invitation to debate.

Conservatives: The Primacy of Economic Rights In stressing economic rights and private property, modern-day conservatives echo and expand on arguments first propounded by certain political philosophers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Early democratic theorists sought the “Blessings of Liberty” in order to break the power monopoly of the monarchy and landed aristocracy. The result was to unleash the economic potential of a nascent middle class and thereby set the stage for the Industrial Revolution.

John Locke (1632–1704) Locke contributed greatly to the idea of the commercial republic This concept, found in the Federalist Papers, is most closely identified with Alexander Hamilton, who championed the idea of a democracy based on economic vitality, capitalistic principles, and private enterprise free of undue state regulation.

commercial republic, an economic concept that forms the core of modern conservatism. Locke declared unequivocally that individuals have a right to property—especially to earned income or wealth acquired as a result of hard work and personal merit. For Locke, protecting private property is one of the main purposes of government. Locke thus helped lay the foundations for the commercial state, including such basic concepts as legal liability and contractual obligation. Many earlier philosophers, from Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas (1224–1274), cautioned against excessive concern for worldly possessions. Locke, in contrast, envisioned a society in which the instinct to acquire goods would be encouraged, the spirit of enterprise and invention would flourish, and money would serve as the universal medium of exchange. Wealth could then be accumulated, reinvested, and expanded. Society would prosper, and a prosperous society, Locke reasoned, would be a happy one.

Baron de Montesquieu (1689–1755) Although Locke developed the general theory of the commercial republic, the French political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu, in his famous The Spirit of the Laws (1748), identified a number of specific advantages of business and commerce. In Montesquieu’s view, nations that trade extensively with other nations would be predisposed toward peace because war disrupts international commerce. Montesquieu also asserted

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that commerce would open up new avenues for individual self-advancement; in other words, through hard work and perseverance, even those born into poverty could become wealthy. In addition, an emphasis on commerce would protect society against religious fanaticism, as a preoccupation with creature comforts and “keeping up with the Joneses” would replace the fanatical zeal that leads to religious strife. The final advantage of a commercial order would be its positive effect on individual morality. A commercial democracy, Montesquieu believed, would foster certain modest bourgeois virtues, including “frugality, economy, moderation, labor, prudence, tranquility, order, and rule.”8

Adam Smith (1723–1790) Following in the footsteps of Locke and Montesquieu, the Scottish “worldly philosopher” Adam Smith set forth the operating principles of the market economy. Smith is the pre-eminent theorist of modern capitalism. He theorized that individual happiness and social harmony are both closely tied to the ways in which goods and services are produced. In his famous treatise, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), he explored and explained the dynamics of a commercial society free of regulations or interference from the state. Like Locke, Smith observed that self-interest plays a pivotal role in human relations: It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.9 Smith famously theorized about the “invisible hand” of the marketplace, expressed in the law of supply and demand. This law, he argued, determines market value. Where supply is large and demand is small, the market value (or price) of the item in question will be driven down until only the most efficient producers remain. Conversely, where demand is great and supply is low, the market value of a given item will be driven up. Eventually, prices will decline as competition intensifies, again leaving only the most efficient producers in a position to retain or expand their share of the market. In this way, the market automatically seeks supply-and-demand equilibrium. Smith believed self-interest and market forces would combine to sustain economic competition, which in turn would keep prices close to the actual cost of production. If prices did rise too much, producers would be undercut by eager competitors. In this view, self-interest and market conditions make prices self-adjusting: high prices provide an incentive for increased competition, and low prices lead to increased demand and hence increased production. Finally, Smith’s free-enterprise theory holds that individuals voluntarily enter precisely those professions and occupations that society considers most valuable because the monetary rewards are irresistible, even if the work itself is not particularly glamorous.10 Taken as a whole, these concepts define what has come to be known as laissez faire capitalism, or the idea that the marketplace, unfettered by central state planning, is the best regulator of the economy. Although the French term laissez faire—literally “let do” or “let be”—is often

laissez-faire capitalism An ideology that views the marketplace, unfettered by state interference, as the best regulator of the economic life of a society.

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associated with Adam Smith’s philosophy, Smith did not actually use the term. The first known use of this term in an English-language publication appeared in a book entitled the Principles of Trade (1774)—written by George Whatley and Benjamin Franklin.

Modern Conservatism Conservatives today champion the right of people

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to pursue happiness as individuals, emphasizing the right to hold, accumulate, and dispose of property. Conservative political parties and politicians typically represent business interests and corporate industry, arguing along the lines of Smith that the private pursuit of wealth will ultimately lead to public prosperity. Finally, critics fault conservatives for obstructing state regulation even at the cost of consumer safety or environmental protection. Conservatives argue that the quest for individual affluence brings with it certain collective benefits, including a shared belief in the work ethic, a love of order and stability, and a healthy self-restraint on the part of government. These collective “goods” are most likely to result, they argue, from a political system that ensures the best possible conditions for the pursuit of personal gain. Two of the most prominent conservative thinkers in the post–World War II period were Friedrich Hayek (1899–1992) and Milton Friedman (1912– 2006). Hayek was a leading member of the Austrian School of Economics, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics (with Gunnar Myrdal) in 1974. His book The Road to Serfdom (1944) inspired a generation of Western freemarket economists, and he became an iconic figure for libertarians in the United States. It was Friedman, however, who did the most to restore classical liberalism to the pedestal of official economic orthodoxy in the United States (under Ronald Reagan), the United Kingdom (under Margaret Thatcher), and subsequently elsewhere in Europe and beyond. According to The Economist, Friedman “was the most influential economist of the second half of the twentieth century . . .

Economist and presidential adviser Milton Friedman embraced Adam Smith’s free-market ideas. Friedman advocated low taxes and a minimalist approach to spending and state regulation, while opposing income redistribution schemes, including farm subsidies and welfare programs.

Ideologies and Politics in the United States

possibly of all of it.”11 In his most famous work, Capitalism and Freedom (1962), Friedman argued forcefully that the secret to political and social freedom is to place strict limits on the role of government in the economy. In other words, capitalism is the key to democracy. In this view, it is desirable to minimize government by assigning to the public sector only those few functions that the private sector cannot do on its own—namely, to enforce contracts, spur competition, regulate interest rates and the money supply, and protect “the irresponsible, whether madman or child.”

Liberals: The Primacy of Civil Rights Liberals tend to hold civil rights most dear. They are often vigorous defenders of individuals or groups they see as victims of past discrimination, including racial minorities, women, and the poor. Rightly or wrongly, liberals are often associated with certain social groups and occupations such as blue-collar workers, minorities, gays and lesbians, feminists, intellectuals, and college professors. In general, liberals favor governmental action to promote greater equality in society. At the same time, however, they oppose curbs on freedom of expression, as well as efforts to “legislate morality.” In the classical liberal view, respect for the dignity of the individual is a seminal value. In his treatise On Liberty (1859), John Stuart Mill eloquently stated the case for individualism: He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation. He who chooses his plan for himself, employs all his faculties. He must use observation to see, reasoning and judgment to foresee, activity to gather materials for decision, discrimination to decide, and when he has decided, firmness and self-control to hold to his deliberate decision . . . Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing.12 Mill was at pains to protect individuality from the stifling conformity of mass opinion. Democracy by its very nature, Mill argued, is ill-equipped to protect individuality, as it is based on the principle of majority rule. Thus, following Mills, liberals point out that defenders of majority rule often confuse quantity (the number of people holding a particular view) with quality (the logic and evidence for or against it) and equate numerical superiority with political truth. In a political culture that idealizes the majority, dissenters are often frowned on or even persecuted. Liberals value individualism as the wellspring of creativity, dynamism, and invention in society, the source of social progress. Protecting dissent and minority rights allows a broad range of ideas to be disseminated; keeps government honest; and sets up a symbiotic relationship between the individual and society, one that benefits both.

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Essential Differences

neoconservative In the United States, a term associated with the ideology of top advisors and Cabinet members during the presidency of George W. Bush; neoconservatives advocate a strong national defense, decisive military action in the face of threats or provocations, pro-Israeli policy in the Middle East, and a minimum of government interference in the economy. In general, neoconservatives are opposed to federal regulation of business and banking. war on terror After 9/11, President George W. Bush declared a worldwide ‘‘war on terrorism’’ aimed at defeating international terrorist organizations, destroying terrorist training camps, and bringing terrorists themselves to justice.

Liberals and conservatives often hold sharply contrasting views on human nature. Liberals typically accent the goodness in human beings. Even though they do not deny human vices or the presence of crime in society, they tend to view antisocial behavior as society’s fault. Thus, liberals believe that to reduce crime, society must alleviate the conditions of poverty, racism, and despair. Human beings are innocent at birth and “go bad” in response to circumstances over which they have no control. If you are raised in a violent, drug-infested, inner-city neighborhood with inadequate police protection, you are far more likely to turn to a life of crime than if you are raised in a comfortable and safe middle-class neighborhood in the suburbs. Conservatives take a dimmer view of human nature. They argue that human beings are not naturally virtuous; that coercion, deterrence, and punishment are necessary to keep people in line; that individuals differ in motivation, ability, moral character, and luck; and that it is not the role of government to minimize or moderate these differences. Consequently, conservatives are seldom troubled by great disparities in wealth or privilege. By the same token, they are generally less inclined to attribute antisocial behavior to poverty or social injustice. There will always be some “bad apples” in society, conservatives argue, and the only solution to crime is punishment. Liberals, on the other hand, maintain that alleviating poverty and injustice is the best way to reduce crime, and that punishment without rehabilitation is a dead end. Is change good or bad? Liberals generally take a progressive view of history, believing the average person is better off now than a generation ago or a century or two ago. They adopt a forward-looking optimism about the long-term possibilities for peace and harmony. As they see it, change is often a good thing. Conservatives, by contrast, look to the past for guidance in meeting the challenges of the present. They are far less inclined than liberals to equate change with progress. They view society as a fragile organism held together by shared beliefs and common values. Custom and convention, established institutions (family, church, and state), and deeply ingrained moral reflexes are the keys to a steady state and stable social order. Like society itself, traditions should never be changed (or exchanged) too rapidly. As Edmund Burke put it, “change in order to conserve.”

The “Values Divide” and the War on Terror The tension between liberals and conservatives escalated into what came to be called a “culture war” or “values divide” in the 1980s.13 In the 1990s, then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich launched the “Contract with America”—a conservative agenda aimed at preventing tax increases and balancing the federal budget, as well as a series of congressional reforms. In 2001, a new divide was opened up after the September 11 attacks. The ensuing “war on terror” was framed within a neoconservative worldview and carried out by a president bent on making homeland security and the military defeat of international terrorism the twin pillars of U.S. policy.

Ideologies and Politics in the United States

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On the economy, President George W. Bush, who pushed through the thenRepublican Congress deep tax cuts for corporations and the super-rich, turned a blind eye to escalating budget deficits, to the dismay of many in his own party. Not surprisingly, the tax cuts were opposed by liberal Democrats. Deep divisions over social issues, such as abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research, have also contributed to the polarization of the U.S. body politic in the new century. Underlying these issues is a moral disagreement. For conservatives, right and wrong are grounded in a transcendent philosophy or religion, and as such, they are universal and unambiguous. By contrast, the liberal attachment to diversity leads naturally to an attitude of tolerance, reflected in the belief that moral and political decisions are intensely personal matters. For example, most liberals oppose prayer in schools, favor broad legal and social rights for gays and lesbians, and are pro choice on abortion. Most conservatives, on the other hand, argue that banning school prayer, allowing gay marriage, and legalizing abortion are morally wrong. Liberals counter that policies denying individual choice violate what is morally right.14 The pivotal role of the religious right in electing George W. Bush president in 2000 and reelecting him in 2004 raised fears in some quarters that “homelanders,” or evangelical Protestants, Roman Catholics, and a dwindling but politically overrepresented rural population, were gaining control of government at all levels in the United States. However exaggerated, this fear was not entirely

During the presidency of George W. Bush, the United States became increasingly polarized over social issues and questions of morality in what pundits called the values divide.

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unfounded. In his book Welcome to the Homeland (2006), broadcast journalist Brian Mann wrote, Let’s pause a moment to give due credit . . . Men like George Bush, Tom DeLay, Dennis Hastert, and Roy Blunt translated razor-thin electoral victories—and fragile congressional majorities—into a daringly conservative agenda that conflicts with the urban values of most Americans. In order to pull it off, they manipulated an entrenched political system, and engineered new alliances with groups that had viewed rural evangelicals with deep distrust, like the Roman Catholic Church.15 Conservatives have traditionally placed little trust in government, believing that less is more. Where tax-funded public programs are necessary, state and local governments are closer to the people and therefore better suited than the federal government to administer them. This long-standing tenet of U.S. conservatism has recently been called into question, however, as government in the United States became more and more centralized under President Bush. A somewhat harsh view of human nature predisposes conservatives to be tougher than liberals in dealing with perceived threats to personal safety, public order, and homeland security. Bush’s military response to the 9/11 attacks, which at first greatly boosted his popularity ratings, was in keeping with this stance. Conservatives typically do not share liberals’ concern for protecting provocative speech, especially when they perceive the speakers as “radicals.” Thus, in the war on terror, liberals have expressed alarm at provisions of the Patriot Act that allow for increased surveillance powers, warrantless searches and seizures, and, in general, invasions of personal privacy long held to be barred by the Fourth Amendment. Section 215 of the act gives FBI agents pursuing an antiterrorism investigation broad power to demand personal information and private records from citizens. The act includes the following paper-thin veneer of judicial review: “Upon an application made pursuant to this section, the judge shall enter” an order. Note the language here: it does not say the judge “shall consider entering an order” but that he or she “shall enter” one. In addition, this law contains a gag rule prohibiting public comment on Section 215 orders. Not surprisingly, libertarians have joined liberals in objecting to what they see as a blatant violation of the Bill of Rights (especially the First and Fourth Amendments). Although Section 215 was set to expire in December 2009, President Obama backed its reauthorization.

Conservatives, Liberals, and Public Policy Liberals are apt to see opportunities for cooperation, accommodation, and remedial action where conservatives see challenges, threats, and dangers. In foreign affairs, liberals tend to favor reduced defense spending, whereas conservatives tend to follow the adage, “Fear God and keep your powder dry.” In domestic

Ideologies and Politics in the United States

affairs, liberals generally believe that government has a responsibility to reduce gross inequalities in wealth and living standards. Liberals also insist that the rights of the accused be protected even if it means some criminals will escape punishment. The war on terror gave rise to a new controversy over these rights when the Bush administration refused to classify captured alleged terrorists as criminals or prisoners of war, preferring instead to create a new category of detainee—illegal enemy combatants. As such, the government said, these people were entitled to none of the legal protections provided in the U.S. Constitution or under international law. President Barack Obama has taken a very different (and far more liberal) view in both foreign and domestic policy than his predecessor. Accordingly, he has vowed to close the Guantanamo prison (the notorious “Gitmo”) and to stop the practice of extraordinary rendition, whereby suspected terrorists were grabbed anywhere in the world and taken to secret detention centers to be harshly interrogated—or even tortured. In general, liberals believe democracy can best be served by maintaining a steady vigilance against government encroachment on the constitutional rights of free speech, press, religion, assembly, association, and privacy. Conservatives are equally adamant about the need for limited government to protect individual rights. However, in addition to basic freedoms found in the Bill of Rights, they stress property and corporate rights and oppose government regulation of the economy, except when it is good for business.

Choosing Sides Politics is often called a game, as in the “game of politics” or the “political game.” But the word game implies sport or amusement, whereas politics is serious business. In games, we typically choose sides; we cheer for our team and celebrate when “we” win. In addition, most games have clear winners and losers—they are seldom allowed to end in a tie (hence the extra innings in baseball, overtimes in basketball and football, and the like). Politics also has winners and losers—for example, in elections. However, many outcomes are not so simple or clear-cut. Winning an election means bearing the burdens of government as well as gaining power. When the winners abuse that power or use it for personal gain or make bad decisions with disastrous consequences, many people can get hurt, and trust in government, a precious thing in itself, is damaged. Thus, choosing sides in politics is, arguably, the most important thing a citizen in a constitutional democracy can do. But how to choose? Many moderates in the United States do not, in fact, choose. They reject labels altogether, preferring not to be identified as Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives. Moderates often become independents. Roughly 30 percent of the U.S. electorate classify themselves as independent in opinion polls.16 Independents do not have to choose one political party or the other. They can pick and choose from the “menus” of both parties, deciding where they stand on individual issues rather than choosing a particular ideology.

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We can easily fall into the trap of believing there are two (and only two) sides to every argument—one right and the other wrong. But the more adamant or partisan each side becomes, the more likely that the truth will elude both, that it will be found somewhere in the gulf between the two extremes. Why? Because politics, like life itself, is too complicated to be reduced to pat answers, populist slogans, or simple solutions.

GATEWAYS TO THE WORLD: EXPLORING CYBERSPACE Websites vary greatly in quality and content, and the ethereal realm of cyberspace is constantly changing. The following is a short list of URLs for websites related to various ideologies—just enough to get you started on your very own journey of political self-discovery: http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/anarchism/ This is a website devoted to Anarchism. http://www.counterorder.com/ This website offers information about Nihilism. http://www.libertarian.org/ http://www.libertarianism.com/ These two websites provide information about Libertarianism. http://www.publiceye.org/eyes/whatfasc.html This website offers information about Fascism. http://www.cc.org/ http://www.theocracywatch.org/ These websites offer information about the Religious Right. http://home.vicnet.net.au/˜dmcm/ http://www.lastsuperpower.net/ These websites offer information about Socialism. http://www.broadleft.org/ http://www.marxists.org/ http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/marxism.html

Summary

These websites provide information about Communism. http://www.dsausa.org/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy These websites offer information about Democratic Socialism. http://www.whereistand.com/ This website offers information about Independents. Note: Wikipedia.org is listed only one time above, but it is a good place to begin any Web search for information on ideologies (as well as many other topics covered in this book). A word of caution is in order, however. Wikipedia.org is not edited like a standard encyclopedia or reference work, and the entries are uneven in quality and reliability.

SUMMARY Governments seek to attain certain social and economic goals in accordance with some concept of the public good. How vigorously, diligently, or honestly they pursue these goals depends on a number of variables, including the ideology they claim to embrace. An ideology is a logically consistent set of propositions about the public good. We can classify ideologies as antigovernment (anarchism, libertarianism), right-wing (monarchism, fascism), or left-wing (revolutionary communism, democratic socialism, radical egalitarianism). U.S. politics is dominated by two relatively moderate tendencies that are both offshoots of classical liberalism, which stresses individual rights and limited government. It is surprisingly difficult to differentiate clearly between these two viewpoints, principally because so-called liberals and conservatives in the United States often share fundamental values and assumptions. Conservatives stress economic rights; liberals emphasize civil rights. Conservatives are often associated with money and business on the one hand, and religious fundamentalism on the other; liberals are often associated with labor, minorities, gays and lesbians, feminists, intellectuals, and college professors. However, these stereotypes can be misleading: not everybody in the business world is conservative, and not all college professors are liberal. Liberals look to the future, believing progress will ensure a better life for all; conservatives look to the past for guidance in dealing with problems. Liberals believe in the essential decency and potential goodness of human beings; conservatives take a less charitable view. These differences are reflected in the divergent public policy aims of the two ideological groups.

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KEY TERMS public good ideology anarchism nihilism libertarianism royalist monarchist monarchism fascism Nazism capitalism

collectivism socialism utopian socialist communism Marxism proletarian dialectic dialectical materialism bourgeoisie law of capitalist accumulation law of pauperization

Marxism-Leninism democratic socialism gradualism welfare state liberal conservative neoconservative commercial republic laissez-faire capitalism war on terror

REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. Constitutional governments might define the public good in terms of attaining certain goals. What are these goals? 2. In what sense does the performance of a government depend essentially on its success in promoting the public good? 3. What is ideology? Is it a scientific term that is easily applied to a political analysis? Why or why not? 4. In twentieth-century Europe, communism and democratic socialism vied for popular approval. What are the main points of agreement and disagreement between these two ideological camps? 5. How can we distinguish between a liberal and a conservative in the United States? What fundamental assumptions separate these two ideologies?

RECOMMENDED READING Bernstein, Edward. Evolutionary Socialism: A Criticism and Affirmation. Translated by E. C. Harvey. New York: Schocken Books, 1961. A classic work espousing the cause of evolutionary socialism. Friedman, Milton. Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994. A classic argument in favor of minimal governmental participation in the private sector. Galbraith, John Kenneth. The New Industrial State, 4th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985. A vigorous argument that concentrated economic power requires a powerful, active government. Hayek, Friedrich. The Road to Serfdom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956. A classic attack on the welfare state. Heywood, Andrew. Political Ideologies: An Introduction. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992.

Recommended Reading

A comprehensive survey of contemporary ideology. Hunter, James Davison. Before the Shooting Begins: The Search for Democracy in America’s Culture War. New York: Free Press, 1994. Hunter continues (see next entry) his examination of America’s culture war, examining the basis of America’s political beliefs and contending that this deep split endangers the nation’s democratic future. ———. Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America. New York: Basic Books, 1991. An argument that America is fundamentally split politically according to different moral perspectives. Mann, Brian. Welcome to the Homeland. Hanover, NH: Steerforth Press, 2006. A searching and introspective explanation for the rise of the religious right in America. The author also explores the political implications of this phenomenon. Runciman, David. Political Hypocrisy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009. The author argues that a degree of cunning is necessary to succeed in politics. If the author is correct, it follows that politicians rarely say what they mean or mean what they say—and it’s anybody’s guess what they actually believe. Schaeffer, Frank. Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2008. White, John Kenneth. The Values Divide. New York: Chatham House, 2003. Explores the role values play in U.S. politics.

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Utopian thinkers are often brilliant dreamers. The idyllic communities they conjure are, as this artist’s rendering suggests, temporal paradises designed and built by enlightened human beings who are invested with divine intelligence, goodness, and wisdom.

Utopias Model States Plato’s Republic: Philosophy Is the Answer The Just City The Noble Lie Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis: Science Is the Answer Karl Marx’s Classless Society: Economics Is the Answer The Centrality of Economics The Road to Paradise The Classless Society B. F. Skinner’s Walden Two: Psychology Is the Answer The Good Life The Science of Behavioral Engineering The Behavioral Scientist as God Utopia Revisited Utopia and Human Nature Utopia and the Rejection of Politics Dystopia: From Dream to Nightmare Orwell’s World Utopia and Terrorism

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utopia Any visionary system embodying perfect political and social order.

s citizens, we often favor (or oppose) policies and leaders because we believe they will (or will not) help make ours a better or more just society. But what constitutes the public good and the good society?1 If we are to make meaningful comparisons between or among political systems, we need to clarify what the public good is and what it is not. Ideas about utopia found in the writings of philosophers, theologians, and others can help us better understand both the possibilities and the limits of politics. What would the best political order look like? Why is it often said that the best is the enemy of the good? Is it more dangerous in politics to settle for too little or to strive for too much? The word utopia comes from the title of a book written by Sir Thomas More (1478–1535), the lord chancellor of England under King Henry VIII and an influential humanist. More coined the word from the Greek terms ou topos, meaning “no place,” and eutopos, “a place where all is well.” Hence, we might say that a utopia is a nonexistent place where people dwell in perfect health, harmony, and happiness. The literature of Western political philosophy contains a number of elaborate utopian blueprints, each of which represents its author’s best attempt at formulating the complete and good (or completely good) political order. In the process, utopia inventors have often engaged in implicit and explicit criticism of existing political, social, and economic conditions. Because of this critical function, society can—and does—use utopian constructs as criteria for judging the performance of political systems and as practical guides to political action. Thus, despite its appearance of impracticality, utopian thought serves significant purposes and affects political activities, directly or indirectly. Our exploration of famous utopias begins with Plato’s Republic, which we contrast with three later versions of utopia—those found in Sir Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, in Karl Marx’s “classless society,” and in B. F. Skinner’s Walden Two. Each author finds answers in a different place. For Plato, the answer lies in the realm of philosophy; for Bacon, in science; for Marx, in economics; and for Skinner, in psychology. There are many other noteworthy examples of utopian literature, including More’s Utopia (1516) and U.S. writer Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, 2000–1887 (1888). There is also a fascinating body of literature on dystopia— well-intended political experiments that went terribly wrong. The purpose of these works, which we review at the end of the chapter, is to demonstrate the danger of trying to build a perfect order in an imperfect world.

PLATO’S REPUBLIC: PHILOSOPHY IS THE ANSWER Plato’s Republic takes the form of a long dialogue between Socrates (c. 470– 399 BCE) and several imaginary participants. Socrates, considered the first Western political philosopher, held that “the unexamined life is a life not worth

Plato’s Republic: Philosophy is the Answer

living,” an idea that has become a cornerstone of Western civilization. As portrayed by Plato (c. 428–348 BCE), Socrates’ most brilliant student, Socratic philosophy—the notion that there is no higher purpose than the fearless pursuit of Truth—represents a fundamental alternative to the earlier works of Homer, who praised the virtues of courage and honor, and the later teachings of Jesus, who proclaimed belief in God and moral behavior in accordance with God’s word to be the basis of the most exalted life. Socrates lived for the sake of knowledge unadulterated by power, prejudice, politics, or religion, and in the end he died for it. The rulers of Athens mistrusted Socrates’ relentless search for answers to penetrating philosophical questions. Eventually he was accused and convicted of undermining belief in the established gods and corrupting Athenian youth. His execution (by a selfadministered drink of hemlock) stands as a poignant reminder of the tension between intellectual freedom and the political order. In The Republic, Plato has Socrates begin with an inquiry into the meaning of justice. He then describes the best political order: a society devoid of all tension between philosophers and rulers.2 (In such a society, the charges leveled against Socrates would have been groundless. There would be no fear of teachers making youth disloyal, for it would be possible to be both philosophic and patriotic.) The founding and construction of such a city would reflect nothing less than the perfection of political thought.

The Just City As Plato tells the story, a skeptical listener challenges Socrates to explain why it is better to be just than unjust. Is it not true, he asks, that the successful man who gains power and possessions from unjust actions is much happier than the just man who, like Socrates, has neither power nor possessions? Because justice is easier to identify in a city than in a person, the search for the just city begins.3 Socrates first proposes that political life arises from the fact that no individual can be self-sufficient. He then describes a very simple society with no government and no scarcity, whose farmers, shoemakers, and other artisans produce just enough for the perpetuation of a plain and placid way of life. In this society, which seeks to satisfy the basic needs of the body (food, drink, shelter, and so on), each person performs one specialized function. To avoid monotony, adornments are required. However, the creation of luxury liberates desire and gives rise to restless spirits. The city then becomes “feverish” and needs to expand. Specifically, it must acquire more land, and for that task, soldiers are necessary. The soldiers, who form the second class in the republic, are initially called guardians. They are to protect the polis (city or civic society) as sheepdogs protect a flock of lambs. As described in The Republic, the education of the guardians encompasses the entire range of human activities, including the aesthetic, intellectual, moral, and physical aspects of life. Socrates suggests that the purpose of education is to teach the truth. Therefore, it is necessary to censor untrue or dangerous ideas. Strict

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Ancient Greece: Birthplace of Justice

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philosopher-king Wise philosopher who governs Plato’s ideal city in The Republic.

discipline is maintained, and everything is held in common, including personal property and spouses. Love of the community replaces ordinary human love. At age twenty, some students are designated auxiliaries and assigned the role of defending the city. They will be the republic’s soldiers. The others, who retain the name of guardian, continue their education. At the end of a prolonged period of study, a guardian, by understanding the truth of things, may become a philosopher. Supreme in wisdom, philosophers alone are fit to hold the highest offices. Thus, philosopher-kings govern the republic. So Plato’s republic is made up of a class of farmers and artisans, a class of warrior-auxiliaries, and a class of philosopher-guardians. Each class embodies one essential virtue. Workers and artisans, who provide for the city’s physical necessities, possess moderation. Warrior-auxiliaries possess courage, the

Plato’s Republic: Philosophy is the Answer

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Ancient Greece was home to Socrates and Plato and the birthplace of political philosophy, thanks in no small part to these two great thinkers. It was the Greeks who invented political philosophy and who placed justice at the very heart of political thought and practice. Political philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about the state, government, politics, law, and, above all, justice. Indeed, justice is the common thread running through virtually all public policy issues today, but it is often implicit rather than openly acknowledged, despite the fact that we often closely associate justice and liberty. The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, for example, speaks of “liberty and justice for all.” Of course, justice means different things to different people, depending on the culture and context in which it is used. In the Western tradition, its meaning often depends on whether we use it in a broad or narrow sense. Broadly speaking, justice is essentially a matter of distribution (who gets what, when, and how). In the narrower sense, it is about punishment for breaking the law and about rules of truth and evidence that determine judgments in the law. Today, justice is often couched in the language of political economy (property rights, taxation, contracts, fair trade practices, capital markets, and the like). Although “justice” has

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been adapted to fit the needs and values of modern society, the concept has been central to Western political thought since at least the time of the ancient Greeks, nearly two and a half millennia ago.

perfection of the spirited part of the soul. Philosophers possess wisdom, or reason. Only philosophers possess a completely excellent soul; every part of their being is perfect, as is the relationship among the parts of their soul. They alone understand justice, the most comprehensive virtue. Because each component of the republic does its job well (growing food and making things, defending the city, or ruling), and in so doing displays a particular cardinal virtue (moderation, courage, or wisdom), this imaginary city is also considered just. And what a city it is! One commentator has declared “all of Western man’s aspirations to justice and the good life are given expression and fulfillment in

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One of the great philosophers of ancient Greece, Plato believed ideal state authority should rest in the hands of the philosopher-king: “Until philosophers are kings, . . . cities will never have rest from their evils.”

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Socrates’ proposals.”4 This is a city where men’s and women’s faculties are not denied their exercise by poverty, birth, or sex, where the accidental attachments of family and city do not limit a man’s understanding and pursuit of the good. It is a regime where wise, public-spirited citizens rule for the common good.5 All perform the tasks for which they are best equipped and receive recognition and respect in proportion to the value of their contributions. This utopian city suggests an answer to the original question asked of Socrates: Why is it better to be just? It is the philosophers who are just and who seem the happiest (certainly happier than the unjust), but their happiness does not depend on possessing unjustly obtained power. Because philosophers are just and wise, they can institute otherwise objectionable practices. To ensure that public servants place the public interest above private interests, family relationships are banned among the soldier and guardian classes. A eugenics program provides for state control of human sexual relations and ensures the continued existence of exceptional individuals. The guardian class propagates only through carefully orchestrated “marriage festivals” planned for the sole purpose of collective (and selective) breeding. Nothing is left to chance.

The Noble Lie To convince the lower class of its proper status, the philosopher-kings are in charge of perpetuating the noble lie on which the just city depends. Thus all citizens (except the philosophers) are told their memories of past experiences are only dreams, and they have actually been beneath the earth, where they were fashioned and trained. When they were ready, their mother, the earth, sent them to the surface. During the formative process, they were given souls fashioned of

Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis: Science is the Answer

gold (in the case of philosophers), silver (auxiliaries), or iron and bronze (farmers and artisans). This myth is designed to persuade residents of the republic that they are all brothers and sisters and to ensure popular acceptance of the class system essential to the republic’s existence. In describing his model republic, Socrates uncovers serious difficulties. His model is highly impractical, if not impossible. It comes at a dear price—the abolition of families, the establishment of censorship, the perpetuation of a widespread falsehood regarding the moral basis of the regime, and the rule of philosopher kings who do not desire to rule. For Socrates, rulers who have a lust for power are not fit to rule; he reasoned that philosophers have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and care not at all for power. Therefore, philosophers were paradoxically best suited to be kings. Although The Republic may not be a blueprint for a future political regime, it is valuable in other respects. Above all, it insightfully explores important political ideas such as justice, tyranny, and education. It also demonstrates a thoughtful model of the best political order, while simultaneously exposing the practical impediments to its implementation. In sum, we should take The Republic less as a political prescription than as a philosophical exercise. Socrates’ excursion into utopia represents an attempt to perfect human thought, not a formula for the perfection of human deeds.

FRANCIS BACON’S NEW ATLANTIS: SCIENCE IS THE ANSWER The idea that utopias can actually be achieved first gained currency in the seventeenth century. In The New Atlantis published in 1627, Francis Bacon describes the imaginary voyage of travelers who discover an island called Bensalem. The travelers have suffered greatly during their long sojourn in the Pacific, and they need food and rest. At first the islanders warn them not to land, but after some negotiations the travelers are allowed to disembark. Their negative first impressions fade as they come to see the island as it really is: a blissfully happy place. Bacon merely sketched most of the practical details of day-to-day life in Bensalem. Although its envoys have made secret expeditions to Europe to learn about advances in science, the island is otherwise completely cut off from other societies, eliminating the need for self-defense. It is also economically self-sufficient, endowed with abundant natural resources. Bensalem is a Christian society, but one that emphasizes religious freedom. Members of various religious faiths hold important positions, and toleration is the norm. The foundation of Bensalem society is the family, and marriage and moral behavior are celebrated. An ancient ruler named Solamona, renowned for his benevolence and wisdom, promulgated laws so perfect that some 2,000 years later they still require no revision.

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Francis Bacon (1561–1626)—English philosopher, scientist, essayist, and statesman—promulgated the idea that science is the key to humanity’s comfortable self-preservation: “Nature to be commanded must be obeyed.” © HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

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Bensalem is also a progressive society. Its best minds are assembled at a great college, appropriately called Solomon’s House. There, through experimentation and observation, they apply the rules of science to the discovery of “knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible.” In contrast to Plato’s Republic, Bensalem pursues knowledge not simply for its own sake but also for the conquest of nature. Greater material comfort, better health, and a more secure and prosperous way of life make up the great legacy of the academy’s laboratories, experimental lakes, medicine shops, and observatories. In Bensalem, science can and should be used for “the relief of man’s estate.” In many respects, Bacon’s seventeenth-century vision seems prophetic. Through science, for example, life expectancy on the island increases dramatically as whole strains of illness are eradicated. New types of fruits and flowers are produced, some with curative powers. Medical treatment undergoes a technological revolution. The Bensalemites’ love of learning and science leads to remarkable discoveries that unlock some of nature’s darkest secrets—for example, they can predict impending natural disasters. Scholars disagree about Bacon’s true intentions in The New Atlantis, but few dismiss him as frivolous or a dreamer. One noted authority sees him as the “first really modern utopian,” because Bacon expected his ideal society, based on science rather than on superstition or religious dogma, to come into being.6 Although his book was not meant to be a precise outline of the future, Bacon envisioned a time and place in which science and social progress, which in his mind go hand in hand, would proceed unimpeded. Bacon’s vision of a technological utopia was not a protest against existing society so much as a key to the future, and an invitation to imagine a world where science is set free to bring about the radical improvement of the human condition.

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KARL MARX’S CLASSLESS SOCIETY: ECONOMICS IS THE ANSWER Karl Marx (1818–1883) was also a utopian thinker, but in a different way from Plato or Bacon. Marx’s predecessors began with elaborate descriptions of their paradises, and when they engaged in social criticism, it was usually implicit. Marx, by contrast, began with an explicit criticism of existing society and sketched only the broadest outlines of his utopia. Because he considered his worldview to be scientific (that is, the product of empirical observation rather than religious belief or abstract reasoning), Marx would have adamantly objected to any suggestion that his ideas were rooted in visionary thinking. Nevertheless, the utopian element in Marxism is evident. Unlike earlier utopians, Marx believed his ideal society was not only possible but also inevitable. We can correctly understand the class struggle he envisaged only as the necessary prelude to a utopian life in a promised land of peace and plenty. This prophecy represented to Marx the end product of irresistible forces propelling human history toward its inevitable destiny—the classless society.

The Centrality of Economics The harsh working conditions and widespread suffering associated with capitalism in the mid-nineteenth century provoked Marx’s attack on economic inequality. The wealthy commercial and industrial elites—the bourgeois

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Karl Marx—German philosopher, economist, and revolutionary— believed a just world could be achieved only through the evolution of humanity from a capitalist to a socialist economy and society: “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.”

classless society In Marxist political theory, the ideal society in which wealth is equally distributed according to the principle ‘‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.’’

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capitalist class—opposed reforms aimed at improving the living conditions of the impoverished working class—the proletariat. Marx’s Das Kapital is punctuated with vivid descriptions of employment practices that aroused his anger, such as the following: Mary Anne Walkley had worked without intermission for 26 1/2 hours, with 60 other girls, 30 in one room that only afforded 1/3 of the cubic feet of air required for them. . . . Mary Anne Walkley fell ill on the Friday [and] died on Sunday. . . . The doctor, Mr. Keys, called too late to the death-bed, duly bore witness before the coroner’s jury that “Mary Anne Walkley had died from long hours of work in an overcrowded work-room.”7 To Marx, the death of Mary Anne Walkley was no mere accident. The machinery of capitalism was remorseless: Mary Anne Walkley was just one of many children who would not live to adulthood. Marx believed economics, or the production and distribution of material necessities, was the ultimate determinant of human life and that human societies rose and fell according to the inexorable interplay of economic forces. He believed Mary Anne Walkley’s harsh life and premature death were dictated by the profit-driven economics of the mid-nineteenth century. But the internal progressive logic of capitalism made it equally inevitable, according to Marx, that the superstructures of power built on greed and exploitation would collapse in a great social upheaval led by the impoverished and alienated proletariat.

The Road to Paradise dictatorship of the proletariat In Marxist theory, the political stage immediately following the workers’ revolution, during which the Communist Party controls the state and defends it against a capitalist resurgence or counterrevolution; the dictatorship of the proletariat leads into pure communism and the classless society

Marx referred to the first stage in the revolution that would overthrow capitalism as the dictatorship of the proletariat. During this time, the guiding principle would be, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Private ownership of property would be abolished. Measures would be put into effect that set the stage for a classless society—including a very progressive income tax, abolition of the right of inheritance, state ownership of banks and communications and transportation systems, introduction of universal (and free) education, abolition of child labor, the “extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State,” and, finally, “the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.”8 Eventually, the state and government as we know it would vanish. In the absence of social classes, class antagonisms would disappear according to Marx’s collaborator Friedrich Engels, the role of the state as the arbiter and regulator of social relations would become unnecessary, and “the government of persons [would be] replaced by the administration of things and by the direction of the processes of production.” In the end, “The State is not ‘abolished,’ it withers away.”9

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The Classless Society The natural demise of government, Marx prophesied, would usher in a new and final stage—the classless society. Under capitalism, Marx wrote, “everyone has a definite, circumscribed sphere of activity which is put upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is hunter, fisherman or shepherd, or a ‘critical critic,’ and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of subsistence.”10 Under communism, in contrast, [when] each one does not have a circumscribed sphere of activity but can train him self in any branch he chooses, society by regulating the common production makes it possible for me to . . . hunt in the morning, to fish in the afternoon, to carry on cattle-breeding in the evening, also to criticize the food—just as I please—without becoming either hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic.11 Marx believed that human beings come into the world with a clean slate, and what is subsequently written on that slate is determined by society rather than by genetic inheritance. Along with individual self-fulfillment, social bliss would blossom in the new order, which would be populated by “loyal, wise, and incorruptible friends, devoted to one another with an absolutely unselfish benevolence.”12 One student of Marxist utopianism observed that its description of communist society shares with most other utopian works a “single ethical core,” characterized by “cooperative rather than competitive labor, purposeful achievement for societal ends rather than self-indulgence or private hedonism, and an ethic of social responsibility for each member rather than of struggle for survival of the fittest.”13 The withering away of the state so central to Marxist ideology was thus based on a belief in the natural harmony of interests: Eliminate private property and the division of labor, and you eliminate social inequality. Eliminate social inequality, and you eliminate the cause of armed conflict. Obviously, no class struggle is possible when classes no longer exist. Finally, eliminate armed conflict, and you eliminate the need for the state. After all, past societies were nothing more than human contrivances for the perpetuation of class dominance. With the disappearance of social classes, according to Marx, government as we have known it will simply atrophy as a result of its own obsolescence. The picture of the future that Marx and Engels presented to the world was indeed captivating—and thoroughly utopian: Crime would disappear, the span of life would increase, brotherhood and cooperation would inculcate a new morality, [and] scientific progress would grow by leaps and bounds. Above all, with socialism spreading throughout the world, the greatest blight of humankind, war, and its twin brother, nationalism, would have no place. International brotherhood would follow. . . . With the socialist revolution humanity will complete its “prehistoric” stage and enter for the first time into what might be called its own history. . . . After the revolution a united classless

withering away of the state A Marxist category of analysis describing what happens after capitalism is overthrown, private property and social classes are abolished, and the need for coercive state power supposedly disappears.

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society will be able for the first time to decide which way to go and what to do with its resources and capabilities. For the first time we shall make our own history! It is a “leap from slavery into freedom; from darkness into light.”14

B. F. SKINNER’S WALDEN TWO: PSYCHOLOGY IS THE ANSWER Psychologist B. F. Skinner (1904–1990) was perhaps the most influential contemporary writer on behavioral psychology. Skinner believed that all human behavior is environmentally determined, a mere response to external stimuli. His experiments, designed to control animal behavior (including the training of pigeons to play Ping Pong), and his theories about the relationship of human freedom to behavior modification have been the object of both acclaim and alarm. In his fictional work Walden Two (1948), Skinner outlined his notion of a modern utopian society. He actually believed it possible to create the society described in Walden Two with the tools made available by the new science of human behavior.

The Good Life As described in Walden Two, Skinner’s imagined utopia is a world within a world. Its fictional founder, psychologist T. E. Frazier, has managed to obtain “for taxes” a tract of land that previously contained seven or eight rundown farms, conveniently self-enclosed, symbolizing its self-sufficiency.

© CHRISTOPHER S. JOHNSON/STOCK BOSTON

behavioral psychology A school of psychological thought that holds that the way people (and animals) act is determined by the stimuli they receive from the environment and from other persons and that human or animal behavior can be manipulated by carefully structuring the environment to provide positive stimuli for desired behavior and negative stimuli for unwanted behavior.

A pioneer in the field of behavioral psychology, U.S. psychologist B. F. Skinner described a utopian society fashioned by the modification of human behavior: “We simply arrange a world in which serious conflicts occur as seldom as possible.”

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Although concerned about the problem of creating a good society, Frazier disdains philosophy. Difficult questions such as “What constitutes the good life?” he dismisses as irrelevant. “We all know what’s good, until we stop to think about it,” he declares.15 For Frazier, the basic ingredients of the good life are obvious: good health, an absolute minimum of unpleasant labor, a chance to exercise your talents and abilities, and true leisure (that is, freedom from the economic and social pressures that, in Frazier’s view, render the so-called leisure class the least relaxed of people). These goals are realized in Walden Two’s pleasant atmosphere of noncompetitive social harmony.

The Science of Behavioral Engineering Frazier summed up his view about how to produce individual happiness and group harmony in this way: I can’t give you a rational justification for any of it. I can’t reduce it to any principle of “the greatest good.” This is the Good Life. We know it. It’s a fact, not a theory. . . . We don’t puzzle our little minds over the outcome of Love versus Duty. We simply arrange a world in which serious conflicts occur as seldom as possible or, with a little luck, not at all.16 The key word here is “arrange.” The kind of world to be arranged is of only passing interest to Frazier; what commands his attention is the question of how to do the arranging. He is concerned not with ends but with means, not with philosophy but with scientific experimentation. He is the quintessential methodologist. Because political action has not helped build a better world, “other measures” are required. What other measures? A revolution in the science of behavior modification: Considering how long society has been at it, you’d expect a better job. But the campaigns have been badly planned and the victory has never been secure. The behavior of the individual has been shaped according to revelations of “good conduct,” never as the result of experimental study. But why not experiment? The questions are simple enough. What’s the best behavior for the individual so far as the group is concerned? And how can the individual be induced to behave in that way? Why not explore these questions in a scientific spirit?17 The Walden Two experiment represents this kind of scientific exploration. Initially, Frazier develops an experimental code of good behavior. Everyone is expected to adhere to it under the supervision of certain behavioral scientists (such as Frazier) called managers. Positive reinforcement, rather than punishment, helps instill behavioral patterns, and a system of finely tuned frustrations and annoyances eliminates the destructive emotions of anger, fear, and lust. For example, to engender self-restraint Frazier has the schoolteachers hang lollipops around the children’s necks which they are not to lick. Such behavioral engineering will prove successful, Frazier asserts, not because it

behavioral engineering The carefully programmed use of rewards and punishments to instill desired patterns of behavior in an individual or an animal.

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physically controls outward behavior but because the conscious manipulation of stimuli effectively influences “the inclination to behave—the motives, the desires, the wishes.”18 To ensure proper socialization and the elevation of community, children are placed in a scientifically controlled environment from infancy. They are raised in nurseries and never live with their parents. (Nor do their parents live with one another.) Private property is abolished, all eat together in common dining halls, and boys and girls marry and have children at fifteen or sixteen.

The Behavioral Scientist as God Much that is familiar in the outside world is notably absent at Walden Two. Although its residents feel free, there is no freedom in this community. The idea of freedom is illusory, Frazier argues, because all behavior is conditioned. History is viewed “only as entertainment”; schoolchildren do not even study this “spurious science.” Religion is not forbidden, but, like government in Marx’s utopia, it has withered away through social obsolescence (“Psychologists are our priests,” Frazier asserts). Moral codes of right and wrong have given way to “experimental ethics.” Politics has no value: “You can’t make progress toward the Good Life by political action! Not under any current form of government! You must operate upon another level entirely.”19 Life at Walden Two has, in fact, been organized to create the most propitious circumstances for the managers’ experiments in behavior modification. Although Frazier justifies this on the basis of increased human happiness, we are left with the gnawing sense that something significant is missing—some sort of check on the power of the behavioral engineers who run the community. Power will not corrupt the managers, we are told, for they “are part of a noncompetitive culture in which a thirst for power is a curiosity.”20 They do not use force (nobody does at Walden Two), and the offices they hold are not permanent. These reassurances have a hollow ring, however. Clearly, the love of power—an obsessive need to control others—is not absent from Frazier’s own soul. As the founder of Walden Two, he appears to view himself as a kind of messiah who has discovered the secret to a whole new way of life: “I look upon my work and, behold, it is good.”21 Frazier is the ultimate “control freak”; a mere mortal who would be God.

UTOPIA REVISITED In every utopia we have examined, conflicts, jealousies, rivalries, rancorous disputes, and individual frustrations have ceased to be. No deep-seated tensions divide individuals; no great antagonisms exist between society and the

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state. Each of these ideal states, however, is inspired by a different vision and is ordered according to a different plan. In The Republic, Plato explored the limits of human perfection; he sought not only to depict his idea of the best political order but also to make clear the problems in attempting to bring it about. Bacon wrote The New Atlantis to show not the limits of human achievement but the possibilities that a society wholly predicated on modern science might achieve. His is a hopeful work that promises tangible improvement in human welfare. Without the promise of a classless society at the end of the road, the violence and suffering Marx believed were inevitable to accompany the end of capitalism would seem senseless. His utopia, a necessary part of his worldview, provides a beacon of hope in an otherwise dark vision of revolution and struggle. Skinner’s Walden Two, by contrast, sought to demonstrate how a rational and scientific approach to behavior modification could produce dramatic social improvements. To create a completely happy and harmonious world, a writer must postulate a breakthrough in the way society is constituted. As we have seen, Plato saw philosophy as the key. His republic could not exist until or unless the wisest philosophers ruled (an unlikely prospect at best). Not so with Bacon, for whom technical mastery of the scientific method, not a quest for human knowledge, would blaze the trail. For Marx, philosophy and science were overshadowed by economics; non-exploitative economic relationships, he believed, would guarantee a peaceful and plentiful world. Finally, Skinner viewed the scientific manipulation of human behavior as the key to social and personal fulfillment. With the advent of modern science and technology, some political thinkers began to take more seriously the practical possibility of achieving utopia. Armed with increasingly sophisticated tools—a new science, a new economics, and a new behavioral psychology—utopian thinkers such as Bacon, Marx, and Skinner began to view heaven on earth as something more than an implausible pipe dream. In sum, utopias have often assumed the form of blueprints for the future. Underlying them are certain shared assumptions about human beings and what is best for them. Let’s examine these assumptions.

Utopia and Human Nature According to one interpretation of The Republic, Plato understood that even if an ideal state could be brought into existence, it could not last indefinitely; it would degenerate. Why? The answer is simple logic. If utopia is the best form of government possible, any change is change for the worse. But no one has figured out how to stop the world from changing. Then there is the problem of human nature. If people are to live together in peace and harmony, all-too-human traits such as lust, greed, malice, and caprice must be eradicated, sublimated, or suppressed. Not surprisingly, utopian thinkers have often sought ways to reengineer the human heart and

human nature The characteristics that human beings have in common and that influence how they react to their surroundings and fellow humans.

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eugenics The science of controlling the hereditary traits in a species, usually by selective mating, in an attempt to improve the species.

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instincts—through eugenics, compulsory education, and abolition of private property. Most utopians assume human selfishness is caused by institutions that protect, sanction, and perpetuate inequalities, and that we can eliminate these institutions only by a fundamental reordering of society. In many utopias, therefore, communal activities, common residences, and public meals replace the private ownership of property in the hope that cooperation will triumph over competition.

Utopia and the Rejection of Politics If utopians are correct that environment can influence individuals so profoundly, then malleable humans are capable not only of moral perfection but also of moral corruption. Any flaw in the construction of a utopia can therefore turn a dream into a nightmare. In almost every utopia (including Marx’s dictatorship of the proletariat stage), political power is centralized, giving utopian governments powerful tools with which to control human behavior. By themselves these tools are neutral; everything depends on how they are used—wisely or foolishly, efficiently or wastefully, morally or immorally. Utopian thinkers tend to assume they will always be used benignly. But given the power of the modern technocratic state and the malleability of human nature, this assumption seems tenuous at best. What troubles many critics of utopian schemes is not only their concentration of power but also the total absence of checks and balances on that power. Utopian thinkers generally display little interest in politics and government or in reconciling the conflicting claims of power and justice. Given material abundance, public-spirited citizens, and little or no conflict between human desires and well-being (or between socioeconomic equality and individual excellence), achieving social justice becomes a technical, rather than a political, problem. Indeed, the nuts and bolts of actual governments—mechanisms for separation of powers, checks and balances, judicial review, and so forth—hold little or no interest for most utopians.

dystopia A society whose creators set out to build the perfect political order only to discover that they cannot remain in power except through coercion and by maintaining a ruthless monopoly over the means of communication.

DYSTOPIA: FROM DREAM TO NIGHTMARE The dangers of unchecked political power, and the more general theme of utopia-turned-nightmare, are vividly developed in such well-known works as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932). Both books, as well as more recent literary utopias such as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, P. D. James’s Children of Men, Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer–Prize-winning The Road, and Lois Lowry’s The Giver, provide graphic descriptions of a dystopia, or a society whose creators set out to build a perfect political order only to discover that, having promised

Dystopia: From Dream to Nightmare

the impossible, they could remain in power only by maintaining a ruthless monopoly through coercion and communication.

Orwell’s World In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the totalitarian rulers (personified by a shadowy figure called Big Brother) retain power by manipulating not only the people’s actions and forms of behavior but also their sources and methods of thought. Thus, the Ministry of Truth is established for the sole purpose of systematically lying to the citizenry; a new language (“Newspeak”) is invented to purge all words, ideas, and expressions considered dangerous by the government; and a contradictory kind of logic (“double-think”) is introduced to make the minds of the citizenry receptive to the opportunistic zigzags of official propaganda. According to the official ideology, the purpose behind state terror, strict censorship, and constant surveillance is to prevent enemies of the revolution from stopping the march toward full communism—a worker’s paradise in which everyone will be happy, secure, prosperous, and equal. In theory, the masses are finally put in control of their own destiny; in practice, they become a new class of slaves whose fate is in the hands of the most ruthless tyrant(s) imaginable.

Utopia and Terrorism In Chapter 15, we explore the nature of terrorism and its impact on domestic and international politics in the contemporary world. Acts of terror are often associated with religious or ideological zeal, especially when they include the ultimate sacrifice, as in the case of suicide bombers. At least one scholar sees a close connection between the utopian quest for social justice and the Islamist glorification of “martyrs.”22 We might well wonder what could possibly motivate another human being to carry out a mission that is at once barbaric and self-destructive, like the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the horrific commuter train bombings in Madrid in March 2004, or the London subway bombings of July 2005. Indeed, terrorist attacks against civilians continue on a daily basis in Iraq and all too frequently in other parts of the world. Such acts are shocking and difficult to understand. What motivates a group of people to plan, prepare, and finally execute a mass murder based on a joint suicide pact? There is no simple answer. It is quite likely that some terrorists are motivated by a perverted idea of the possible, a misguided sense of what could be if only the imagined source of all evil were annihilated.23 The identity of the targeted “evil” is almost incidental. Extremists who imagine a time when, for example, Islamic societies were pure and unadulterated—a time before Western ideas, values, music, money, and military occupation corrupted the faithful—can too easily find a justification for killing innocent people in the name of a higher purpose. It is a disturbing fact that in modern history a longing for utopia, a place

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on earth where happiness knows no limits, is often associated with violence that knows no limits either.

GATEWAYS TO THE WORLD: EXPLORING CYBERSPACE http://users.erols.com/jonwill/utopialist.htm This site is a virtual gateway to information on utopias. Visitors will find an impressive list of websites broken down into useful categories. http://utopia.nypl.org/Pt1exhibit.html Maintained by the New York Public Library, this site contains artwork, information on utopian literature, and related links. The site notes, “In the ongoing search for the ideal society, the Internet has been proposed as a ‘place’ in which an ideal society could exist.” It also affords visitors an opportunity to take a poll that encourages the user to think about and give an opinion on the Internet as a utopia. http://www.levity.com/alchemy/atlantis.html Online text of Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis. http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html Online text of Plato’s Republic. http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/tmore.htm Site devoted to Thomas More. Includes online text of More’s Utopia. http://www.constitution.org/jh/oceana.htm Online text of James Harrington’s utopian work, The Commonwealth of Oceania (1656). http://xroads.virginia.edu/˜HYPER/BELLAMY/toc.html Online text of Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward: 2000-1887. To do more research into utopias and dystopias on the Web, use the keywords utopia or dystopia with two or three different search engines. Also, try combining these key words with other search terms, such as “utopia and ideology” or “utopia and terrorism.”

SUMMARY In the sixteenth century, Sir Thomas More coined the term utopia to signify an imaginary society of perfect harmony and happiness. More’s Utopia was a

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subtle attack on the ills of English society under Henry VIII. The first important attempt to define the “perfect” political order, however, had been made by Plato in The Republic. Four works stand out as representative of utopian thought in the history of Western political philosophy. In The Republic, Plato sought the just society through philosophical inquiry. In the seventeenth century, Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis demonstrated how the human condition could be elevated through modern science. Karl Marx later propounded the view that only through the radical reorganization of economic relationships within society could true justice and an end to human misery be achieved. The ultimate aim of Marx’s theory of social transformation is the creation of a classless society. Finally, in B. F. Skinner’s Walden Two, a prime example of a contemporary utopian scheme, behavioral psychology holds the key to utopia. The form and content of the just society were of less concern to Skinner than the methods for bringing such a society into existence. Thoughts of utopia have been inspired by idealism and impatience with social injustices. However, its presumed desirability conflicts with its practical possibility. The principal obstacle to utopian society is the unpredictability and selfishness of human nature, which utopian thinkers commonly have sought to control through eugenics programs, compulsory education, and the abolition of private property. Utopian visionaries often blame politics for the failure to improve society. As a result, in many utopian blueprints, the role of politics in bringing about desired change is either greatly reduced or eliminated entirely. This leaves most utopian schemes open to criticism, for they could easily become blueprints for totalitarianism. Such blueprints often take shape in writings about dystopias— utopias that turn into nightmares.

KEY TERMS utopia philosopher-kings dictatorship of the proletariat

classless society withering away of the state behavioral psychology

behavioral engineering human nature eugenics dystopia

REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. What is the origin of the term utopia? What does the word mean? 2. How have utopian writers differed about the practicality of utopia? 3. Utopian writers often make certain basic assumptions about human nature and society. What are they? Which if any do you agree with and why? 4. What can the study of utopian thought teach us about politics in the contemporary world?

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5. In the twentieth century, totalitarianism has greatly influenced certain novelists who have produced chilling stories that turn utopia upside down. Describe one fictional dystopia about which you have read. What, in the novelist’s view, brought it into being?

RECOMMENDED READING Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale. New York: Everyman’s Library, 2006. In this grim tale, the state has total control and is out of control; sterility is the norm; and fertile women are treated as cattle, producing children for the upper class, which cannot have any. Bacon, Francis. The New Atlantis and the Great Instauration, 2nd ed. Wheeling, W.V.: Harlan Davidson, 1989. Bacon’s seventeenth-century account of a society blessed by scientific breakthroughs is surprisingly modern. Berman, Paul. “Terror and Liberalism,” The American Prospect, vol. 12, no. 18, October 22, 2001. Gilison, Jerome. The Soviet Image of Utopia. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975. An insightful discussion of the idealist elements in Marxist–Leninist ideology. Hertzler, Joyce. The History of Utopian Thought. New York: Cooper Square Publishers, 1965. An excellent survey of utopian thinkers and their ideas throughout history. Huxley, Alduous. (Foreword by Christopher Hitchens). Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2005. Originally published in 1932, this book is a literary masterpiece that paints a dark portrait of a future world created by the unchecked progress of modern science and the technocratic state. James, P. D. The Children of Men. New York: Vintage, 2006. “Early this morning, 1 January 2021, three minutes after midnight, the last human being to be born on earth was killed in a pub brawl . . .” Thus begins the story of a society in which the human sperm count inexplicably fell to zero in 1995, setting the stage for all sorts of perverse policies and practices. (For example, the infirm are encouraged to commit suicide, criminals are exiled and abandoned, and immigrants are enslaved.) Kateb, George. Utopia and Its Enemies, rev. ed. New York: Schocken Books, 1972. A sympathetic defense of the value and contributions of utopian thought. Lowry, Lois. The Giver. New York: Laurel Leaf, 2002. A 12-year-old living in a world where poverty, unemployment, crime, and disease are nowhere to be found, and chosen to be the community’s Receiver of Memories, discovers the truth about his utopian society and decides the price of maintaining a perfect peace and order is too high; a story about hypocrisy, tyranny, and human dignity. McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Vintage (paperback edition), 2008. Some sort of cataclysmic event involving “light and then a low series of concussions” has left cities burned, the earth denuded, and most life forms on the edge of extinction. In this bleak landscape, an unnamed man and his son walk to the sea. The man tells his son that they are “good guys,” but in the ensuing struggle for survival, the man’s actions belie his words. More, Thomas. Utopia. Translated by Paul Turner. Baltimore, MD: Penguin, 1965. More’s imaginary society inspired many later utopian writers; the work remains a charming account of one man’s paradise.

Recommended Reading

Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. New York: New American Library, 1961. A classic novel that brilliantly describes a dystopia modeled after Stalin’s Soviet Union. Plato. The Republic. Translated by Allan Bloom. New York: Basic Books, 1991. Bloom’s literal interpretation and interpretive essay help make this edition of Plato’s classic work especially valuable. Popper, Karl. The Open Society and Its Enemies. Princeton, N.J. Princeton University Press, 1966. This work argues that Plato and Marx (among others) were advocates of totalitarian government and opponents of free, democratic societies. Skinner, B. F. Walden Two. New York: Macmillan, 1976. A fictionalized account of a small community founded and organized according to the principles of behavioral psychology.

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The Declaration of Independence and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall—a brief document and a modest building—are two famous symbols of American democracy.

Constitutional Democracy Models of Representation

Liberal Democracy: Models and Theories Republics and Constitutions The Idea of America Four Models of American Democracy Alexander Hamilton: Federalism Thomas Jefferson: Anti-Federalism James Madison: Balanced Government John C. Calhoun: Brokered Government Back to Basics: Federalism and the Separation of Powers Tocqueville: The Tyranny of the Majority John Locke: The Rule of Law Constitutionalism and Due Process Remodeling Democracy: Have It Your Way The Future of Democracy: Nationalism or Cosmopolitanism? Cosmopolitan Democracy Democracy in a New World Order

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constitutionalism The concept that the power and discretion of government and its officials ought to be restrained by a supreme set of neutral rules that prevent arbitrary and unfair action by government; also called constitutionalism.

direct democracy A form of government in which political decisions are made directly by citizens rather than by their representatives. republic A form of government in which sovereignty resides in the people of that country, rather than with the rulers. The vast majority of republics today are democratic or representative republics, meaning that the sovereign power is exercised by elected representatives who are responsible to the citizenry. constitutional democracy A system of limited government, based on majority rule, in which political power is scattered among many factions and interest groups and governmental actions and institutions must conform to rules defined by a constitution.

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onstitutional democracy is “government by the people”—a government that relies, in the words of the American Founders, on a “scheme of representation.” In common usage, the term democracy is shorthand for constitutionalism, denoting a broad allegiance to a set of universally known rules. Most of the time, these rules are written down, like the U.S. Constitution, and enjoy special status as the supreme law of the land—that is, above ordinary statutory law. Democracies almost invariably rest on constitutional foundations and typically feature elections, representative assemblies (legislatures), an independent judiciary, a free press, and various other institutional constraints on executive power. Successfully cultivating a political culture that enshrines constitutionalism at its core appears to be a major key to the success of democracies.

LIBERAL DEMOCRACY: MODELS AND THEORIES Democracy means different things to different people. One prominent political scientist has identified no fewer than nine different models of democracy— four “classical” forms and five “contemporary” ones, including a new model he calls “cosmopolitan democracy.”1 One of the oldest, or classical, models is direct democracy, which, in ancient Greece, encompassed a small city-state (Athens) in which citizens (all those entitled to vote) participated directly in political deliberations and decision making. Another classical model is the republic, a form of limited democracy more suitable to a large state and pioneered by the Romans in ancient times. Governance in the Roman Republic required elections and two representative bodies (a senate and an assembly), but it was not very democratic by today’s standards. The modern form of republican government is constitutional democracy, which stresses political equality and individual liberties. A modern democracy, by definition, is a competitive marketplace of ideas and interests. Political scientist Richard Katz has developed a useful “typology of liberal democratic theories.”2 Katz’s typology underscores two key questions. First, is a given society by nature stable or volatile? For a variety of historical, cultural, and demographic reasons, some societies are—or appear to be—more governable than others. Second, do the elites or the masses pose the greatest danger to democracy? Figure 4.1 shows how six different observers—including two famous figures in U.S. history, a British philosopher, and three twentieth-century scholars—came up with different theories of democracy corresponding to these two basic questions. Two of these theorists, Jeremy Bentham and Joseph Schumpeter, tended to view society as a single undifferentiated mass of individuals rather than as a collection of groups, classes, or factions. The other four believed society is divided or segmented (differentiated), although they differed on exactly how, and what this differentiation means. Two—James Madison and Robert Dahl—believed society is pluralistic, containing many groups, but stressed that individuals

Liberal Democracy: Models and Theories

FIGURE 4.1

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Katz’s Typology of Liberal Democratic Theories

Source: Richard S.Katz, ‘‘Models of Democracy: Elite Attitudes and the Democratic Deficit in the European Union.’’ An unpublished paper presented at a meeting of the European Consortium of Political Research, Copenhagen, April 2000.

Homogenous society Crosscutting cleavages Segmented society

Greatest Danger from the Elite

Greatest Danger from the Masses

Jeremy Bentham (1) James Madison (3) John Calhoun (5)

Joseph Schumpeter (2) Robert Dahl (4) Arendt Lijphart (6)

(1) Jeremy Bentham, Principles of Civil Code and Constitutional Code, 2 vols. (New York: Russell & Russell, 1962). (2) Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (New York: Harper & Row, 1962). (3) James Madison, The Federalist (New York: Modern Library, 1964). (4) Robert Dahl, Polyarchy (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1971). (5) John Calhoun, Disquisition on Government (New York: Peter Smith, 1943). (6) Arendt Lijphart, Politics of Accommodation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968).

belong to more than one group. This overlapping membership creates crosscutting cleavages. In other words, individuals identify simultaneously with various groups and organizations, such as town, city, suburb, neighborhood, school, church, or synagogue. The other two—John Calhoun and Arendt Lijphart— viewed society as segmented rather than fragmented. This means crosscutting cleavages, to the extent they exist at all, cannot break down the barriers that divide groups and interests in society. The political implications of these different conceptions of society become clearer when we ask the second question: What is the greatest danger to democracy? For Bentham, who advocated “the greatest good for the greatest number,” the economic and social elites threaten democracy, whereas for Schumpeter, the masses clamoring for socialism or a welfare state are the problem. In Schumpeter’s view, democracy cannot endure without capitalism as the vital source of economic growth and development. In effect, in this model, the marketplace is the key to the success of democracy. But because the masses oppose capitalism and ultimately prevail in a democratic system, Schumpeter was pessimistic about democracy’s future. For the other four theorists, pluralism in society is more important than class distinctions. As Figure 4.1 indicates, however, they differ in terms of who and what poses the greatest threat to democracy. Madison and Calhoun saw the elites as the main danger, whereas Dahl and Lijphart saw the masses as the greatest threat. Clearly, democracy is complex and controversial. The type of liberal democracy we choose depends on a larger political theory that takes account of human nature and makes a judgment about the main threat(s) to peace, security, and stability. Next we take a closer look at republics and democratic constitutions.

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REPUBLICS AND CONSTITUTIONS

concurrent powers Joint federal and state control.

Countries as diverse as France, Poland, India, South Africa, Brazil, and Mexico are all examples of constitutional democracy in action. Official names, such as the German Federal Republic or the Republic of South Korea, reflect the fact that the essence of modern democracy is representation. For this reason, nothing is more vital to the political life of republics than regular elections based on the right to vote and the secret ballot. It is easy to forget that in the past many people in many places fought and died for this right. Today, more people enjoy the right to vote in more places than at any other time in the history of the world. But even where the people are the ultimate source of political power, they cannot simply do anything they wish. Every existing democracy imposes limitations on majority rule. These limitations often take the form of minority rights—that is, rights guaranteed even to citizens who are totally out of step with the majority. By the same token, those in power cannot do whatever they wish either, thanks to checks and balances written into the constitution. Constitutions lay out the basic organization and operation of governments, assign powers, and set limits to the exercise of those powers. Most contemporary democracies have written constitutions, but they differ greatly in age and length, as well as in content. Some, like those of the United States and France, are models of brevity. Others, including those of India and Kenya, are lengthy and detailed. India’s constitution differentiates governmental powers into federal (97), state (66), and concurrent (47). Kenya’s constitution is so explicit in allocating authority between the central and regional governments that it covers such subjects as animal disease control, the regulation of barbers and hairdressers, and houses occupied by disorderly residents. The United Kingdom, the mother of all parliamentary systems, does not have a formal, written constitution. Instead, the British constitution is inscribed in the minds and hearts of the British people. It is a deeply ingrained consensual social contract consisting of custom and convention, and certain bedrock principles found in historic documents, royal decrees, acts of Parliament, and judicial precedent. Constitutional democracies must satisfy three competing, and sometimes conflicting, requirements. First, because such governments are democratic, they must be responsive to the people. Second, because they are governed in accordance with established rules and procedures, they are limited in the goals they can pursue and the means by which they can pursue them. Finally, like all governments, constitutional democracies cannot succeed or long survive unless they are effective in maintaining law and order, managing complex economies, and protecting the civilian population against external threats, such as incursions and invasions by foreign armies, as well as violent crime, natural disasters, and terrorism.

THE IDEA OF AMERICA The United States is the birthplace of the first modern theory of representative democracy ever put into practice. From its inception, it was not perfect, but it was a daring departure from the past and a bold attempt to reshape the future,

Republics and Constitutions

BOX 4.1

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Philadelphia: Birthplace of Liberty

FIGURE 4.2 Map of colonial America. Philadelphia, Boston, and New York were the three major cities. Washington, D.C., did not come into being until after the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1788.

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, adopted the Declaration of Independence—an audacious act of defiance against the king of England that was certain to provoke war

with the world’s preeminent naval power. The Declaration, which begins with the ringing words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” followed a long struggle between the colonists and the (Continued)

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Constitutional Democracy

(Continued)

colonizers over issues such as the power to tax, regulate trade and commerce, and quarter troops. At the root of all these disputes, however, was a thirst for liberty, a burning desire to escape unjust and arbitrary rule. Other grievances included “imposing Taxes on us without our Consent [and] depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury.” Today, the Declaration sounds like reason dressed in political garb. People, it asserts,

have “unalienable Rights” (derived from the “Creator”). These rights are “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The “just powers” of governments derive “from the consent of the governed.” The Declaration came at a time when absolute monarchies ruled all Europe. It preceded the French Revolution by 13 years. Its creation was the act that led to the modern world’s first, and oldest, constitutional democracy.

which it did. The triumph of the idea that a people can form a republic and govern themselves is a defining moment in the history of the modern world. It so happens this triumph occurred in a place known simply, but imprecisely, as America (see Box 4.1). The idea of America is, in a very real sense, a product of the eighteenthcentury Enlightenment, which, in turn, was a product of the intellectual ferment in Europe that originated during the Italian Renaissance of the late fifteenth century. The political theory of the American Founders, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton, drew heavily on the contributions of famous thinkers who lived and wrote during that earlier time—Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Baron de Montesquieu, among others. All agreed that the purpose of government was not, as Aristotle had claimed, to nurture virtue, but rather to combat vice. This unflattering view of human nature led these thinkers to stress the pursuit of realistic goals—liberty or security, for example, which may be politically attainable, rather than virtue, which is not. The idea of America has long been synonymous with liberty in the minds of people all over the world. Arguably, it is the idea itself more than the reality that for many decades gave the United States vast reserves of “soft power” (the ability to get others to want what we want). Unfortunately, the unpopular and protracted Vietnam War eroded that soft power, as did the recent costly invasion and occupation of Iraq.

FOUR MODELS OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY The principle of majority rule is basic to constitutional democracy. Free elections decide who rules. Citizens play an important role in government—choosing who will hold high office and, therefore, who will make the laws, formulate the policies, and administer the programs on which well-ordered civil societies depend.

Four Models of American Democracy

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Alexander Hamilton (1757– 1804). One of the principal authors of the Federalist Papers, published serially in two prominent newspapers in 1787– 88, still the most authoritative source for the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. An unrelenting advocate of a strong federal government and an assertive executive branch, Hamilton was the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and chief architect of the U.S. system of taxation, the plan for funding the national debt, and the first National Bank. Hamilton died at age 49 from a gunshot wound inflicted by his arch-enemy, Aaron Burr, in a duel.

Alexander Hamilton: Federalism Constitutional democracies cannot ignore the opinions and beliefs of the majority. However, a popular government is not necessarily a viable one. In the words of Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804), “a government ought to contain in itself every power requisite to the full accomplishment of the objects committed to its care, . . . free from every other control, but a regard to the public good and to the sense of the people.”3 What good is democracy if the government cannot protect its citizens, promote prosperity, and provide essential services such as education, law enforcement, water treatment, and firefighting? In Hamilton’s view, checks and balances, however necessary in a democracy, ought not be carried so far as to impede or impair the government’s ability to act energetically. Madison noted that one of the “very important” difficulties encountered at the Constitutional Convention was “combining the requisite stability and energy in Government, with the inviolable attention due to liberty, and to the Republican form.”4 Hamilton, the indomitable Federalist, argued the most passionately—and fought the most fiercely—for a strong central government. With good reason George Washington turned to Hamilton, the United States’ first secretary of the treasury, to put the fledging national government’s finances in order and to create a tax system, a federal budget, a central bank, the Customs Service, and the Coast Guard. A brilliant administrator with a penchant for micromanaging everything he touched, Hamilton applied his formidable talents and energies to the

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Supremacy Clause Article VI, Section 2, of the Constitution, which declares that acts of Congress are ‘‘the Supreme law of the Land . . . binding on the Judges in every State.’’

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task of constructing a strong central government, one that would be financially solvent, stable, and competent to act without constantly having to secure agreement among the separate states or seek the lowest common denominator among them. In a real sense, the U.S. Constitution stands as a monument to Hamilton’s vision. It created a strong executive capable of conducting the nation’s foreign affairs, vetoing legislation, and naming judges (with the approval of the Senate). It empowered Congress “to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper”—a formulation that underscores the Founders’ determination to avoid the kind of political paralysis that had thrown the colonies into a crisis under the ill-fated Articles of Confederation. Finally, it entrenched the Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Paragraph 2): “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” Stability and continuity are essential to the success of any government. Established procedures for changing leaders by regularized methods (elections and appointments) are vitally important and represent one of the principal advantages of democracy over modern dictatorships. History and tradition, along with symbolism and ritual, reinforce the sense of continuity in governments. Citing the need for continuity, Madison opposed Thomas Jefferson’s proposal for recurring constitutional conventions, on the grounds that because “every appeal to the people would carry an implication of some defect in the government, frequent appeals would, in a great measure, deprive the government of that veneration which time bestows on every thing, and without which perhaps the wisest and freest governments would not possess the requisite stability” and that even “the most rational government will not find it a superfluous advantage to have the prejudices of the community on its side.”5 Hamilton and other delegates at Philadelphia sought to create a powerful and unified executive branch capable of resisting both the encroachments of Congress and the centrifugal pull of the states. They believed, correctly, that the absence of a hereditary monarch, regular elections, and the possibility of impeachment effectively checked the executive power.6 Nonetheless, the U.S. president is not a dictator or a constitutional monarch. For better or worse, Congress is well equipped to resist an unpopular chief executive. Even a popular president can be impeded or even impeached when the opposition party controls Congress. Thus, President Richard Nixon’s attempt to use the IRS and the FBI to intimidate his opponents in 1972 backfired and led to his forced resignation. The American Founders deliberately set the stage for a contest. The document they adopted at Philadelphia left plenty of room for interpretation, maneuver, and debate. Its ambiguity is a source of both frustration and strength. Where the line is—or ought to be—drawn between capabilities and constraints depends on such key variables as political culture and circumstances.

Four Models of American Democracy

Thomas Jefferson: Anti-Federalism The validity of democracy is far from self-evident. As Socrates pointed out some 25 centuries ago, faced with big decisions on important matters, people turn to experts. Why, then, if we want good government, would we trust ordinary citizens, who tend to be apathetic and ill-informed, to make wise decisions? As a contemporary commentator pointed out, “If you visited a physician and sought advice as to whether to undergo an operation, you would be appalled if he explained that his policy in such cases was to poll a random sampling of passersby and act in accordance with the will of the majority.”7 Yet that is what democracies do all the time, often with dire consequences. For example, a study comparing the mental agility of six Republican and six Democratic presidents found that George W. Bush ranked last (by a fairly wide margin).8 Despite abundant evidence that the incumbent president lacked the most basic qualifications for the nation’s highest office, however, the voters reelected Bush by a clear majority in 2004, thus giving him the solid mandate he lacked after the disputed 2000 election. Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) had more faith in “We the People” than Socrates did or, for that matter, than did many of the other Founders, including Hamilton and John Adams. For Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, majority rule was the only way to run a democracy. Unlike James Madison and others at Philadelphia, Jefferson did not see the principle of majority rule as a danger to the stability of a future government. Indeed, it was Jefferson who, in 1787, wrote in defense of Shays’ Rebellion: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Jefferson and Madison embraced rather different views of human nature. Jefferson believed in the basic goodness of the people; presented with clear alternatives, the majority would normally choose the one that was best for the country. The right of free speech, in this view, is essential because it guarantees that minority views—dissent and criticism—will be aired. The right to criticize means yesterday’s majority can become tomorrow’s minority and vice versa. The Jeffersonian model implies an important role for political parties. If majorities are the key to governance in a democracy, then political parties are necessary to give the majority a voice. But having only one party is incompatible with competition. Hence the need for at least two. (Most democracies have multiple parties; the United States is a rare exception.) Jefferson was not the only prominent theorist to embrace the principle of majority rule. A compelling defense of this principle was given by Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859) in his brilliant two-volume study, Democracy in America (1835): “The moral authority of the majority is partly based upon the notion that there is more intelligence and more wisdom in a great number of men collected together than in a single individual.” Tocqueville believed the approximate equality of human intellect was a basic assumption of democratic government. Moreover, “The moral power of the majority is founded upon yet another principle, which is, that the interests of the many are to be preferred to those of the few.”9 Furthermore, because the majority

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majority rule The principle that any candidate or program that receives at least half of all votes plus one prevails.

winner-takes-all system Electoral system in which the candidate receiving the most votes wins.

plurality vote system A system in which candidates who get the largest number of votes win, whether or not they garner a majority of the votes cast; in a majority vote system, if no candidate gets more than half the votes cast, a runoff election is held to determine the winner.

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is always changing and today’s minority can become tomorrow’s majority, the principle of majority rule is appealing to all. In the United States, according to Tocqueville, “all parties are willing to recognize the rights of the majority, because they all hope to turn those rights to their own advantage at some future time.”10 The political principle of majority rule, therefore, finds support both in the ideal of equality and in self-interest. However, achieving it is not as easy, nor always as highly prized, as we might think. In the United States, where the twoparty system is well entrenched, elections typically produce a clear majority in both state and national legislatures. They also produce the appearance of a clear majority in most presidential elections. But as we discovered in the 2000 presidential election, the candidate who wins a majority of the popular votes is not automatically assured of getting elected. The winner-takes-all system awards all the electoral votes in any given state to the candidate who gets the most votes in that state, even if nobody gets a clear majority. Under parliamentary democracy, the problem of majority rule is rather different. Most parliamentary systems have multiple political parties represented in the national legislature. (We will see why later.) Multiparty systems typically do not produce a clear majority of parliamentary seats for any single party. Two or more parties are then forced into a coalition in order to form a government with enough votes to get its programs and policies approved. As a result, the very possibility of majority rule is called into question. When the voters divide into, say, five or six sides rather than just two, there is obviously no clear signal as to where the “majority” stands on anything. Nor can any single party in a coalition government hew to its own platform and ignore the wishes of its partners in the coalition. The upshot is a watering down of positions—a government based more on rule by the lowest common denominator than on majority rule. Often, the voters become frustrated and cynical at what they perceive to be ineffective government. Even in the United Kingdom, the world’s foremost two-party parliamentary system, majority rule is problematic. British elections nearly always produce a clear majority in Parliament (see Chapter 7), but the winning party seldom garners more than 45 percent of the popular votes (and often significantly less). In other words, British democracy is more accurately characterized as a plurality vote system. Much the same can be said of American democracy, because members of the U.S. Congress are elected in single-member districts and the biggest vote-getter in each district wins the seat, no matter how far short of a majority. The distinction between majority and plurality voting raises a theoretical problem. If a candidate or government is chosen on the basis of a plurality rather than a majority, it means more voters did not vote for that candidate or government than did—possibly many more. The logic of this analysis, however, can easily take a wrong turn. The reason the majority does not rule is not that the minority has usurped power, but that there is no majority. Thus, to talk about the myth of the majority is not to denigrate majority rule but rather to recognize the difficulty of putting it into practice. Governing by majority rule is easier said than done for another reason. The fact that the majority is often elusive raises a problem for democratic theory; the fact that it is often tyrannical raises a problem for democratic practice. We turn next to this problem and how another great democratic theorist proposed to solve it.

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James Madison: Balanced Government

© NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION/ ART RESOURCE

Students are often surprised to learn that the majority of delegates to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787 did not fully share Jefferson’s faith in the people. James Madison’s (1751–1836) theory of democracy stressed the natural tendency of society to fragment into special interests or factions based on egoism and emotion rather than altruism and reason. The proponents of Madisonian democracy thus viewed Jeffersonians as too optimistic about the likelihood that the masses will be high minded and public spirited. Indeed, Madisonians could point to ample anecdotal and historical evidence to justify a more pessimistic view of human nature. Both Madison and Hamilton expected individuals to act selfishly in politics, just as they do in personal matters, unless they are prevented by political arrangements designed for that purpose. The fairly clear distinctions that already existed between economic and social classes during the colonial period underscored Madison’s fear of creating politically paralyzing or polarizing factionalism. How could a democratic government be structured to ensure the public interest would not be sacrificed to the selfish interests of factions? The Madisonian solution was to ensure factions pursuing selfish ends would encounter as many hurdles as possible. It was this idea that won the day in Philadelphia and came to be enshrined in the Constitution as the famous system of checks and balances. The separation of powers—so familiar to students of U.S. democracy—is one key; the other is federalism. For followers of Madison, good government is all about architecture. James Madison (1751–1836). Fourth President of the United States (1809–1817). Author of many of the most important Federalist Papers, Madison is often called the “Father of the Constitution” in recognition of his leading role in drafting that document. Madison is also credited with authorship of the Bill of Rights. An ally of Jefferson against the Federalists, Madison opposed various centralizing measures favored by Hamilton and John Adams. As president, Madison led the country into the war of 1812 against Britain. Perhaps more adept as a theoretician than as a practitioner of politics, Madison, as chief executive, changed his position on several key issues, favoring creation of a second National Bank (he had opposed the first), a strong military, and a high tariff to protect so-called infant industries.

checks and balances Constitutional tools that enable branches of government to resist any illegitimate expansion of power by other branches. separation of powers The organization of government into distinct areas of legislative, executive, and judicial functions, each responsible to different constituencies and possessing its own powers and responsibilities; the system of dividing the governmental powers among three branches and giving each branch a unique role to play while making all three interdependent. federalism A system of limited government based on the division of authority between the central government and smaller regional governments.

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The Architecture of Liberty If people are not by nature virtuous and rulers are people, how can any system of rule not degenerate into tyranny? Here, in a nutshell, is the universal problem of politics. The Founders tried to solve this puzzle by developing what they called the “new science of politics,” an ingenious arrangement of political institutions designed to permit a large measure of liberty while guarding against the arbitrary exercise of power by compartmentalizing the functions of government, thus preventing the concentration of power. In The Federalist, Hamilton argued that the new U.S. Constitution would prevent “the extremes of tyranny and anarchy” that had plagued previous republics. He admonished his readers not to dwell on past examples: “The science of politics, like most other sciences, has received great improvement. The efficacy of various principles is now well understood, which were either not known at all, or imperfectly known to the ancients.” Hamilton catalogued the structural improvements built into the Constitution by the pioneers of this new science:

The regular distribution of power into distinct departments; the introduction of legislative balances and checks; the institution of courts composed of judges, holding their offices during good behaviour; the representation of the people in the legislature by deputies of their own election—these are either wholly new discoveries or have made their principal progress toward perfection in modern times. They are means, and powerful means, by which the excellences of republican government may be retained and its imperfections lessened or avoided.11 The Founders understood that, in Madison’s words, “enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.”12 In the absence of exceptional leadership, only the state itself, properly constructed, could check the ambitions of those who claimed to rule in its name. Elections provide one such check, noted Madison, but “experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”13 The chief precaution was to set up a permanent rivalry among the main components of government: “The great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others.” In short, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.”14

Checks and Balances In pursuit of this goal, the Founders attempted to make each branch of government largely independent of the other branches. Thus, the powers of each respective branch derive from specific provisions of the Constitution—Article I for the legislature, Article II for the executive, Article III for the judiciary. Each branch is given constitutional authority to perform certain prescribed tasks, and each is equipped with the tools to resist any illegitimate expansion of power by the other branches. These tools, known as checks and balances, range from the mundane (the president’s veto power) to the extraordinary (impeachment proceedings brought by Congress against a president). Together they make up the “necessary constitutional means” available to

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members of one branch of government for use against the encroachments of another. As the authors of The Federalist Papers put it, “The interest of the [individual] must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.”15 Institutionalized self-interest, the Founders felt, would infuse officeholders with a sense of the power, importance, and majesty of their particular institution and heighten their desire to maintain its prestige (and thereby advance their own careers). Thus, Congress brought impeachment charges against President Nixon in 1974, alleging he had flouted the Constitution. (Nixon’s abuse of power, including his alleged involvement in the Watergate affair, was the general theme of the case against him.) In 1998, President Clinton was impeached, in part, because he resisted efforts by the Republican Congress to investigate his conduct in office. His opponents also charged he lied to a grand jury. On the other hand, a Democratic Congress resisted public calls for impeachment of President Bush in 2006–2008 over the Iraq War, the methods used in capturing and interrogating suspected terrorists, and a penchant for secrecy that greatly impeded legislative oversight and public scrutiny of the executive branch. In building democratic institutions on the power of self-interest, the Founders demonstrated a limited faith in human goodness and the likelihood of moral improvement. According to Hamilton, “Men are ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious.”16 Madison concurred, although less bluntly:

It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices [as checks and balances] should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.17 In a well-ordered republic, enlightened self-interest would work for the good of all. Ideally, politicians would discover they could best achieve their personal interests (getting reelected) by promoting the public interest. If not, however, Madison’s system, like Adam Smith’s theory of the “invisible hand” in the marketplace, would automatically adjust itself to correct the balance of institutional power. Thus, it was not on the lofty plane of morality or religious sentiment that the new science of politics in the United States found its justification, but instead on the firmer (if lower) ground of institutionalized self-interest.

John C. Calhoun: Brokered Government John C. Calhoun (1782–1850) was a younger contemporary of the Founders. In the first half of the nineteenth century, he was a leading political figure in the South and served as vice president of the United States from 1825 until 1832, when he resigned over policy differences with President Andrew Jackson. Contemporary political scientists often refer to Calhoun as the first prominent exponent of a pluralist model of democracy. In the 1820s, Calhoun championed a theory of brokered democracy based on the assumption of selfish

brokered democracy This theory holds that the interests of major groups cannot be steamrolled by the majority without jeopardizing democracy and that legislators and decision makers should act as brokers in writing laws and devising policies that are acceptable to all major groups in society.

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concurrent majority John Calhoun’s theory of democracy, which holds that the main function of government is to mediate between and among the different economic, social, and sectional interests in U.S. society.

nullification According to this controversial idea, a state can nullify acts of the U.S. Congress within its own borders; John Calhoun and other states’-rights advocates put forward this doctrine prior to the Civil War.

dual federalism Under this system, which prevailed in the United States between 1835 and 1860, the power of the national government was limited to enumerated powers; during this period, the Southern states claimed sovereign powers.

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motives in politics and what was, in his view, a universal tendency to interpret reality, and even morality, in self-serving ways—to put private interests ahead of the public interest. Calhoun sought to tame this tendency through a mechanism he called the concurrent majority. In his model of U.S. democracy, there were (and are) many different economic, social, and sectional interests the government must mediate between and among. In a democracy, he reasoned, if one interest prevails over all the others because it has a majority of the votes on a given issue at a given time, neither justice nor the long-term survival of the system can be assured. In his Disquisition on Government, Calhoun made an impassioned argument for protecting the interests of minorities against a steamrolling majority. The way to do so was to abandon the principle of majority rule in favor of government by concurrent majority. Thus, the decision-making model Calhoun advocated was one of compromise and consensus among all major competing interests on important policy questions of the day. If compromise failed and consensus could not be reached, the status quo would prevail indefinitely. In effect, Calhoun argued the case for protecting pluralism at all costs, granting a kind of veto power to minority groups. Calhoun is a prime example of his own theory in action. As it turns out, he was not only a champion of concurrent majority decision-making but also the leading voice in the famous nullification controversy that divided the nation in the decades preceding the Civil War. Proponents of nullification, mainly Southerners, held that a state could nullify acts of the Congress within its own borders—if Congress attempted to abolish slavery, for example, the Southern states had the right to ignore it. This concept also came to be called “interposition,” because it meant a state could interpose its own authority (or sovereignty) to void an act of Congress. Calhoun was, in effect, using the principle of minority rights against an oppressed racial minority, slaves. For Calhoun and his Southern cohort, “minority rights” and states’ rights were inseparable. The tension between Federalists (favoring a strong national government) and Anti-Federalists (favoring states’ rights) had been one of the major themes of the nation’s founding and continued to be up to the Civil War. In fact, the notion of dual federalism (near and dear to Calhoun’s heart) prevailed between 1835 and 1860. Under dual federalism, the power of the national government was limited to its enumerated powers, Southern states claimed sovereign powers, and the all-important question of what would happen or who would prevail in a contest of wills between two “sovereign” governments (national versus state) remained unresolved. The upshot was, of course, the Civil War. Federalism was at the heart of the fight between the North and South. The Union victory over the Confederacy was a triumph for the concept of a single sovereign seat of government located in Washington, D.C., but it did not resolve the tension between federal authority and the states’ rights. An attenuated form of dual federalism survived at least until the Depression Era of the 1930s, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched what political scientists often call “cooperative federalism”—a series of federally funded programs that, in time, redefined the relationship between the national government and the states.

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BOX 4.2 FOCUS ON

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Federalism in Postwar Germany

The link between federalism and liberty is particularly striking in the case of Germany. Democracy in Germany was reborn after World War II, when the nation was exhausted by war, defeated, and occupied by foreign armies. The Allied powers, led by the United States, were determined to prevent a new German state from again launching a campaign of military aggression in Europe. The best way to do that, they reasoned, was to inoculate Germany against the virus of dictatorship. The “vaccine” they decided to use was democratic federalism. How could federalism possibly prevent the rise of a new Hitler? The key is the decentralized structure of Germany’s government. The German

states (called Länder) play an important role in governance on both the state and national levels. Delegates appointed by the sixteen state governments make up the upper house of the German parliament, the Bundesrat. The upper house has veto power over legislation directly affecting the states, including new taxes. In addition, most of the governmental bureaucracy in Germany falls under the control of the Länder. Ironically, the Germany federal system, which was created under close U.S. supervision, is a better example of how federalism is supposed to work than the U.S. system, which once functioned as an effective counterweight to the national (or central) government but no longer does.

From that time to the present, the federal government’s power has expanded, and the states have taken a back seat. We turn next to a more detailed look at federalism.

Back to Basics: Federalism and the Separation of Powers Federalism In theory, one way to limit constitutional government is through a division of powers, called federalism. In practice, however, it does not necessarily work that way. Modern examples of federal republics are the United States, Germany, Canada, India, Brazil, Mexico, and Nigeria. After World War II, federalism in Germany, for example, meant the states played a strong role in governing the country and truly did act as a check on central power (see Box 4.2). In the defunct Soviet Union, by contrast, federalism was a façade that allowed a tightly controlled and highly centralized dictatorship to pretend it was democratic. True federalism features a division of power between the national government and regional subdivisions. These subdivisions are often called states, not to be confused with sovereign states or nation-states. The United States has a constitutional division of power between national and state governments. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, for instance, delineates many areas in which Congress is empowered to legislate. At the same time, the Tenth Amendment provides that all powers not granted to the national government are reserved for the states. Traditionally, the states have been empowered to maintain internal peace and order, provide for education, and safeguard the people’s health, safety, and welfare—through the government’s police powers. These powers

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were once exercised almost exclusively by the states. However, the role of national (or federal) government has grown enormously since the 1930s, when FDR launched a massive set of federal programs called the New Deal, to create jobs and stimulate the economy in the midst of the Great Depression. President Richard Nixon (1968–1973) tried to reverse this process with a policy called the new federalism, which was aimed at making government “more effective as well as more efficient.” The two main elements of this policy were the use of so-called block grants to the states and general revenue sharing. Thereafter, other presidents—notably Ronald Reagan (1980–1988), a conservative Republican, and Bill Clinton (1992–2000), a Democrat—also paid lipservice to devolution, or transferring power back to the states, but did little to match words with deeds. President George W. Bush paradoxically weakened the role of the federal government in the economy through deregulation of business and banking while pushing the power of the executive branch in the political system to new heights. Upon taking the oath of office, President Obama moved quickly to enforce existing regulations in some areas, including energy and the environment. His early response to the financial and economic crisis, however, emphasized fiscal stimulus (spending) rather than strict regulation of the banking industry—much to the chagrin of his critics. Others noted the Obama administration was moving faster and more decisively than President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in responding to the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Why Federalism? What is the rationale for a division of power? The basic idea is to keep government as close to the people as possible. Thus, some delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia argued that the existence of states would create a first line of defense against a potentially tyrannical central government. In the Constitution, therefore, the separate states were given equal representation in the newly created Senate, and the federal method of electing the president through the Electoral College was adopted. In addition, the states were to play an important role in amending the Constitution. As we noted earlier, the First Congress deferred to the states in proposing the adoption of the Tenth Amendment. Federalism in the United States today functions significantly differently from the way it did during the nation’s early history. Originally, great controversies flared over the question of whether a state (for example, Virginia and Kentucky in 1798–1799 or South Carolina in the 1830s) or a region (the South in 1860) could resort to states’ rights federalism to justify dissent from specific policies undertaken by the national government. When questions of interest or principle—the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, the tariff in the 1830s, slavery in the 1860s—divided the nation, political wrangling centered on the constitutionality of particular governmental actions, or on the issue of whether state governments or the national government could legitimately exercise final authority. Issues the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution could not settle, the Civil War did. Although there have been some notable clashes since then, especially in the South over school desegregation in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the

Four Models of American Democracy

federal government is now clearly in the driver’s seat, with the states competing for federal dollars in pursuit of policies hammered out at the federal level.18 In the 1990s, however, there was renewed competition between these two levels of government. For example, state governments experimented with educational reforms (charter schools, school vouchers, new ways to bring religion into the classroom) and a variety of anticrime measures (mandatory sentencing, three-strikes laws, victims’ compensation). Some states also sought to roll back affirmative action. After 2001, as the Bush administration rushed to deregulate business, California and some other states fought with the federal government over the right to enact tougher environmental standards than those mandated by Washington. The new Obama administration pledged to review and revamp federal environmental policies—a rare intergovernmental victory for the states. The trend toward a more competitive relationship between the national and state governments was derailed by the war on terror, yet the examples above illustrate the sense in which federalism is competitive as well as cooperative. Nonetheless, the federal government towers over the states by virtue of its vast powers to tax and borrow and spend, as well as its status under the Supremacy Clause (see above), which declares that acts of Congress are “the Supreme law of the Land . . . binding on the Judges in every State.” Any talk of redressing the balance between the federal government and the states brings to mind the struggles to defend or extend states’ rights associated with major historic figures in the United States, including Thomas Jefferson, John Randolph, and John C. Calhoun. But Jefferson Davis, the institution of slavery, and the Civil War are also part of this story. A century later, Southern segregationists like Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, and Lester Maddox unsuccessfully led the fight for states’ rights against federal action to bring about desegregation in the South. The debate over federalism continues up to the present day. Critics argue that the pendulum has swung too far toward centralization of power, while civil rights advocates point to the pivotal role of the federal government in promoting racial and gender equality. (We examine the recent history of civil rights and the push for racial equality in Chapter 13).

Federalism and Liberty By guarding against the dangers of over-centralization, federalism, in theory, protects liberty, ensuring that the powers of the national government remain limited.19 However, the post-9/11 expansion of federal lawenforcement powers in the name of homeland security raised questions about the compatibility of a centralized model of federalism and liberty in the twentyfirst century. At its origins, American federalism was designed to protect individual liberty by limiting the scope of the national government. Thus, in sharp contrast to a unitary system of government (see Box 4.3), the aim is political-administrative decentralization. By “multiplying and simplifying the governments accessible” to ordinary citizens, “creating local organized structures capable of resisting centralized authority or mitigating its excesses,” and making it possible for “government to be adapted to local needs and circumstances,” decentralization

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homeland security A term President George W. Bush popularized after the 9/11 terrorist attacks; it refers to a whole range of counterterrorist policies, including tighter border and immigration controls, steppedup airport security, expanded FBI surveillance powers, and more invasive police investigations.

unitary system A system in which the government may choose to delegate affairs to local government.

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BOX 4.3 FOCUS ON

Constitutional Democracy

THE UNITARY ALTERNATIVE

Most governments in the world today are not federal systems. A far more common form of government is the unitary system, such as that found in the United Kingdom. It is called unitary because there is only one primary unit of government, the central government, which often turns over many affairs to local governments but is not required to do so. Notably absent from these systems is an intermediate layer—the equivalent of states in federal systems—between the center and local political-administrative units. Some unitary systems, for example those in France and Italy, have guarded the powers and prerogatives of the national government against encroachment by local magistrates, mayors, and politicians more jealously than have the British. In France, prefects—officials appointed by the central government—mediate between

power of the purse Under the U.S. Constitution, the provision that gives the Congress the exclusive right to impose taxes and the final word on government spending. presidential democracy A democratic form of government in which the chief executive is chosen by separate election, serves a fixed term, and has powers carefully separated from those of the other branches of government.

the central government in Paris and the local departments. Until the Socialist government of François Mitterrand instituted reforms in the early 1980s, the prefects were charged with the close supervision of local governments within their departments and had the power to veto local decisions. Admirers have long regarded this system, known as tutelage, as a model of rational political administration. Tutelage was so centralized and systematized throughout France that anyone could supposedly tell which subject schoolchildren were studying at any given time simply by glancing at a clock. To many in the United States accustomed to a multiplicity of schools, curricula, accreditation requirements, and academic standards, such governmentimposed uniformity would no doubt seem curious.

permits “experimentation in the way problems are met.” In short, federalism, in this view, “is a vital safeguard to liberty and a way to educate an energetic and competent citizenry.”20 Do we still have the necessary degree of decentralization—that “vital safeguard to liberty”? For better or worse, the trend since 9/11 has been toward greater centralization of power in Washington and the White House. This point leads naturally back to one of the perennial questions facing democracy— namely, how to reconcile individual rights and majority rule. We revisit that question in the following section.

The Separation of Powers The U.S. Constitution assigns specific tasks to each branch of government. Congress, for example, is given the power of the purse. The president proposes a budget and attempts to influence congressional appropriations, but Congress always has the final word on governmental spending. This potent constraint on the executive has not been widely copied by other presidential democracies, which typically give the executive branch the upper hand in setting the budget (expenditures), while giving the legislature the primary role on the revenue side (taxation). In the U.S. model, power and authority are shared in a few areas. Overlapping responsibilities, for instance, characterize the government’s war powers. Congress is empowered to raise and support armies (although the

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PRESIDENTIAL DEMOCRACY

The U.S. government is often called a presidential democracy because the chief executive is elected in balloting separate from the vote for members of Congress. A presidential system is characterized by a separation of powers in which the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the national government are each responsible to different constituencies for the exercise of their respective powers and responsibilities. The government is formally organized along functional lines. Because all governments need to formulate, execute, and interpret laws, it is logical to create a legislature to perform the first of these functions (rule making), an executive to carry out

the second (rule implementation), and a judiciary to oversee the third (rule interpretation). The logic of this arrangement knows no political or geographic boundaries. Today it is reflected in the composition of many democracies in all regions of the world. Presidential democracies are especially common in Latin America, but in various forms they are also scattered in such farflung places as Russia, France, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, South Africa, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The major alternative to presidential democracy is parliamentary democracy, which is especially common in Europe and which we discuss at length in Chapter 7.

Constitution limits appropriations to two years), to provide and maintain a navy, to make the rules regulating the armed forces, and to declare war. However, the Constitution makes the president the commander in chief of the armed forces. Therefore, any significant military undertaking, declared or undeclared, requires the cooperation of both branches. Countries with similar institutions generally replicate this pattern, although the idea of civilian control over the military is nowhere more firmly established in principle or practice than in the United States. Indeed, in many presidential systems, the possibility of a military takeover (a so-called coup d’état) in times of crisis remains the principal danger to democracy. Members of the three branches in the U.S. government serve different terms of office and different constituencies. Under the Constitution, as amended, the president must stand for election every four years and is limited to two terms of office. The president and the vice president are the only two governmental officials in the United States who can receive a mandate from the entire national electorate (see Box 4.4). In contrast, congressional representatives serve particular districts (subdivisions of states) and are elected for two-year terms. Senators represent states as a whole and serve six-year terms in office. Supreme Court justices (and all other federal judges) are not elected; they are appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Founders stipulated this mode of appointment because they believed that to render impartial opinions, the judiciary must be free of the political pressures of winning and holding elective office. The precise term of office for president varies from country to country. Presidents in Russia and Brazil, for example, are elected to four-year terms and

war powers The U.S. Constitution gives the Congress the power to raise and support armies, to provide and maintain a navy, to make rules regulating the armed forces, and to declare war; it makes the president the commander in chief of the armed forces.

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can run for a second consecutive term, as in the United States. The president of Mexico is elected to a six-year term but cannot run for reelection. Until recently, France’s president was elected to a renewable seven-year term, reduced to five years in 2000.

TOCQUEVILLE: THE TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY Imagine this Wild West scenario: A drifter falsely accused of the cold-blooded murder of a local citizen is jailed, pending trial by a judge and jury. An angry mob clamors for instant justice, but against this throng stand two solitary figures—a crotchety old deputy and the brave sheriff. The inevitable showdown takes place in the street in front of the sheriff’s office. Led by the mayor and town council members (one of whom is the actual murderer), a lynch mob demands “the killer” be handed over immediately. Clearly, majority rule is at war with impartial justice. In the end, only heroic action by the sheriff saves the innocent man from being dragged off and hanged from the nearest tree. When democratic government turns into mob rule, it becomes what Alexis de Tocqueville called the tyranny of the majority.21 For this reason, political thinkers through the ages have often rejected democracy, fearing a majority based on one dominant class, religion, or political persuasion would trample the rights of minorities. The American Founders were conscious of this danger

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tyranny of the majority The political situation in which a dominant group uses its control of the government to abuse the rights of minority groups.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859). French political thinker and writer best known for his two-volume masterpiece, Democracy in America, widely considered the most insightful work on American society and politics in the Jacksonian era. An admirer of Americans’ penchant for business and commerce, and genius for money-making innovation, he was nonetheless sharply critical of the still-young republic’s tendency toward crass individualism and a “middling” mediocrity in politics and the arts. Many of de Tocqueville’s observations, both pro and con, still resonate today.

Tocqueville: The Tyranny of the Majority

BOX 4.5 FOCUS ON

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CONSTRAINTS ON MAJORITY RULE

The Founders of the U.S. political system were troubled by the possibility that the majority would trample the rights of the minority. To some extent, bicameralism, or the division of the legislative branch into two houses, was designed to balance the power of large and small states and to provide a barrier against the majority steamroller. The presidential veto, the independence of the courts, and federalism were also intended as safeguards against the potential excesses inherent in majority rule. Again, this political-institutional pattern is discernible in other countries as well. The bicameral arrangement of the legislature is the rule nearly

everywhere. In most cases, presidents have a veto power over legislation, but a determined and united legislature can override it. Courts are typically set up to be independent, although ensuring judges are politically neutral or jurisprudentially impartial is often problematic. Many of the world’s federal systems are also presidential. As noted earlier, examples include Russia, Mexico, Brazil, and Nigeria. Examples to the contrary include Canada, Germany, and India.

and sought to combat it by structural and procedural prescriptions written into the Constitution (see Box 4.5). The United States witnessed acts resembling mob rule in the fall of 2001, during the crisis that followed the deadly terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. When the perpetrators were identified as Muslim extremists, many citizens, horrified by the enormity of the crime, turned against Arab and Muslim minorities living in the United States. Examples of popular tyranny in democratic countries are surprisingly common. In Germany, for example, a sizable Turkish minority has never been granted equal rights. In the Czech Republic (and elsewhere in Eastern Europe), the Czech majority discriminate against the Roma. In Israel, the Arab minority (that is, Arab-Palestinians who are Israeli citizens rather than residents of the West Bank and Gaza) do not enjoy full political and social equality with the Jewish majority. In Turkey, the rights of the Kurdish minority have often fallen victim to the fears and prejudices of the Turkish majority (see Figure 4.3). The French Revolution was a precursor of the totalitarian mass movements that played a major role in shaping world history in the first half of the twentieth century. In the period between the two world wars, a left-wing dictatorship in Russia and right-wing dictatorships in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany came to power with broad popular support. In Adolf Hitler’s Germany, the persecution of minorities in the name of an “Aryan” majority turned genocidal with at least the acquiescence, if not the active support, of an overwhelming majority within German society.

bicameralism Division of the legislature into two houses.

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FIGURE 4.3 The Kurds predominate on both sides of Turkey’s borders with Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

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JOHN LOCKE: THE RULE OF LAW rule of law The concept that the power and discretion of government and its officials ought to be restrained by a supreme set of neutral rules that prevent arbitrary and unfair action by government; also called constitutionalism.

The idea that nations ought to be governed by impartial, binding laws is not new. Aristotle argued that the rule of law is almost always superior to the rule of unrestrained individuals. He based this argument on the concept of fairness, contending that whereas individuals are subject to appetites and passions for physical, material, and psychic satisfaction, the law represents “reason free from all passion.”22 Therefore, a government of laws is superior to one of individuals, even though individuals such as magistrates and ministers of justice must interpret and enforce the laws. More than 2,000 years later, English philosopher John Locke (1632–1704) defended the rule of law on the basis of its close relationship to individual freedom. Locke believed freedom could not exist without written law and that good government must follow certain precepts (for instance, taxes should not be levied without the consent of the people). To Locke, these rules constitute “laws” of the highest order because they embody what civil society is all about. They are laws above the law that place limitations on lawmakers. From Locke’s concept of a higher law, the idea of constitutionalism evolved. As Locke noted (and as the inscription above the entrance to the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C., reads), “Wherever Law ends, Tyranny begins.”23 Locke was part of a proud English tradition that had sought since 1215 to establish limits on government. In that year, rebellious barons forced King John

Constitutionalism and Due Process

to sign the famous Magna Carta. Originally, this document made concessions by the ruler only to the feudal nobility, but its broad clauses were later interpreted more flexibly and expanded to cover increased numbers of people. Ultimately, the Magna Carta became the foundation of British liberties. Containing some sixty-three clauses, it foreshadowed a system that limited the absolute authority of the monarchy. It declared, for instance, that royal vassals must be summoned to councils to give advice and consent, and that they had to approve any extraordinary taxes. Equally important was Clause 39, which guaranteed the accused an impartial trial and protection against arbitrary imprisonment and punishment. To that end it stated, “No free man shall be taken or imprisoned, or disposed, or outlawed, or banished, or in any way destroyed . . . except by the legal judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” During the seventeenth century, in Locke’s time, great advances were made in the limitation of government by law. The Petition of Right (1628) further advanced the idea of due process of law while limiting the monarch’s power of taxation. In addition, abolishing the dreaded Star Chamber in 1641 did away with a court that used torture to gain confessions and imposed punishment on subjects at the request of the Crown. Finally, the Habeas Corpus Act (1679) limited government’s power to imprison people arbitrarily. It imposed substantial penalties on judges who failed to issue timely writs of habeas corpus, which demonstrated the accused had been legally detained and properly charged with a crime. Also originating in the seventeenth century was a judicial precedent that came to have enormous influence in the United States. Renowned English jurist Sir Edward Coke’s (1552–1634) opinion in Dr. Bonham’s case (1610) asserted that English common law, including the Magna Carta, should be the standard to which ordinary acts of Parliament, as well as the monarchy, had to conform.24

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Magna Carta A list of political concessions granted in 1215 by King John to his barons that became the basis for the rule of law in England.

CONSTITUTIONALISM AND DUE PROCESS Although a higher-law theory was not adopted in England, where parliamentary supremacy became the rule, it eventually found a home in the United States. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights (the latter of which was largely derived from English common law) became the standards against which popularly enacted laws would be judged. Constitutionalism enshrines proper procedure. For instance, the Constitution as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court prohibits the president of the United States, even during wartime, from seizing or nationalizing industries, such as steel mills, without Congressional approval.25 Similarly, the concept of due process— prescribed procedural rules—dictates that a citizen accused of a crime shall be provided with an attorney, allowed to confront witnesses, informed of the charges brought against him or her, and so on. For the same reason, administrative agencies are compelled by law to provide public notice to those who might be adversely affected by a pending decision.

due process A guarantee of fair legal procedure; it is found in the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

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equal protection The doctrine enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment that holds that the prohibitions placed on the federal government and the protections afforded American citizens under the Bill of Rights also apply to the states. ex post facto law A law that retroactively criminalizes acts that were legal at the time they were committed. bill of attainder A legislative decree that declares a person guilty and prescribes punishment without any judicial process.

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In each instance, the rationale behind procedural due process is the same: we cannot accept a decision as either fair or final unless we can see that the “rules of the game” have been strictly followed. Hence, in constitutional democracies, if the winner of an election cheated, the results are void. In fact, that is exactly what happened when the so-called Watergate scandal forced President Nixon to resign (or face certain impeachment) in 1974. Many outside observers, however, think due process of law is taken to extremes in the United States. For example, if the suspect confesses to the crime without being informed that she has a right to remain silent, the confession will be inadmissible in court. In virtually every other liberal democracy in the world, including the United Kingdom, France, Canada, and Australia to cite but a few examples, a confession is a confession as long as it is not extracted by torture or trickery. It is not enough for a democracy to proclaim the rule of law. Words and deeds must also coincide. Thus, African Americans continued to be victims of discrimination for many years after the Civil War was fought, despite the fact that the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly guaranteed equal protection of the laws. Similarly, women did not gain the right to vote until 1920 and enjoyed few opportunities outside the confines of home and family until fairly recently. Due process is essential to equal justice, but there is no such thing as an ironclad guarantee against injustice. To prevent the gravest miscarriages of justice (such as lynching), we must place limitations on popular rule. These may take many forms. In the United States, government is restricted as to how it can make laws or punish citizens accused of breaking laws. For example, under Article I, Sections 9 and 10 of the Constitution, the government cannot pass an ex post facto law, which retroactively penalizes acts, or a bill of attainder, a legislative act that declares a person guilty. The Bill of Rights, which consists of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, forbids the government to deny citizens freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and privacy, and guarantees the accused a fair trial (see Chapter 13). In practice, however, exactly how or where to draw the line between majority rule (or the state) and minority rights (or society) is often unclear. Citizens are entitled to express themselves, but this right is not absolute—for example, freedom of speech does not give one the right to make obscene phone calls, to send death threats through the mail, or to incite a riot.

REMODELING DEMOCRACY: HAVE IT YOUR WAY Political scientists frequently use models to illustrate or clarify a particular theory or to show a range of possibilities. The fact that so many countries became laboratories for democratic experimentation in the 1990s created

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renewed academic interest in democracy and provided a great variety of “specimens” to study. One upshot was the appearance of a new body of theories and models of democracy. We give the most attention in this book to three existing models of democracy: the U.S. presidential model, the British parliamentary model, and the French half-and-half, or hybrid, model that combines features of the U.S. and British systems (see Chapter 7). All three are representative democracies and differ primarily in structural and procedural matters—in the way representatives are elected, the relationship between the executive and legislative branches, the role of political parties, and the way the national leader comes to power. Another way of thinking about democracies is to focus on the role the people play under different models. After all, democracy is, by definition, a form of rule by the people. William Hudson, for example, identified four distinct theories of citizen participation and developed a model of democracy for each (see Figure 4.4).26 The main function of government in Hudson’s protective democracy is to safeguard liberty rather than national security. Citizens may play a passive political role in this model, but they make up for it by playing an extremely active role in economics. The government is the guardian or protector of the free market, but not its master. According to Hudson, this theory holds that “democracy exists so that free competitive individuals may have and enjoy a maximum of freedom to pursue material wealth.”27 The limits on government are ensured through the elements so familiar to students of the U.S. Constitution, including the separation of powers, federalism, bicameralism, and the Bill of Rights. In Hudson’s developmental democracy, the government’s focus is on the development of virtuous citizens, not modern economies or political systems. This model views democracy as a kind of school for civic education and socialization. It sees indirect or representative democracy as a way to train citizens in those habits and virtues essential to progress, stability, and prosperity. Their FIGURE 4.4

Hudson’s Typology of Democracy

Note that although all four models are democratic, the emphasis is different in each one. Does it matter?

Protective democracy = individual liberties + property rights

Pluralist democracy = self-interest + coalescence + oligarchy

Developmental democracy = teaching citizenship through civic activity

Participatory democracy = politically active citizens + multiple opportunities

protective democracy A theory of democracy that places the highest priority on national security developmental democracy A model of democracy that stresses the development of virtuous citizens.

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pluralist democracy A model of democracy that stresses vigorous competition among various interests in a free society.

participatory democracy A model of democracy that seeks to expand citizen participation in government to the maximum possible degree.

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broad participation through voting and expressing opinions is thus essential to making them feel closer to government and help them gain a better understanding of the public good, even if they are not active decision makers in it. The paternalistic element is perhaps what most distinguishes it from Hudson’s other models. The pluralist democracy model is the one most people recognize immediately. It features vigorous competition among various interests in a society where diversity is the norm. Hudson’s model of pluralism, however, emphasizes its tendency to evolve into a hierarchical order dominated by economic elites. This tendency occurs naturally in a society where individuals are free to form associations or interest groups, because the success of organizations depends on group cohesion, common purpose, and strong leadership. Thus, pluralistic democracy is inherently oligarchic: In a society that places a high priority on business, entrepreneurship, and the amassing of personal wealth, the natural result is social and economic inequality. The final model—participatory democracy—is the most straightforward of the four and the closest to a practicable model of direct democracy. In theory, direct democracy means citizens themselves, not elected representatives, decide all major questions of public life. This model could perhaps work in a community or small city-state of a few hundred or even a few thousand citizens at most. It cannot easily work in a large modern state encompassing much territory, many towns and cities, and millions of inhabitants who may or may not even speak the same language. Nonetheless, participatory democracy is based on the conviction that apathy is a conditioned response, not a trait inherent in human nature. Deprived of opportunities to participate in meaningful ways, people will naturally tune out or get turned off. The key to a vibrant citizenry—and therefore to a healthy democracy—is active participation on a large scale across a wide spectrum of issues. Participatory democracy goes farther, arguing not only that citizens would participate actively in politics given the chance but also that they should participate—that is, that they have a right to do so. Hudson’s models of democracy, like all others, are just that—models. They do not represent actual democracies, nor are they necessarily the best way to characterize or categorize different types of democracy. But they do point to basic political questions that confront all contemporary democracies, which was precisely Hudson’s intention in developing these models in the first place. The models become the basis for his book analyzing “eight challenges to America’s future,” namely restoring the separation of powers, restraining the “imperial judiciary,” combating “radical individualism,” promoting citizen participation, reforming the “trivialized” election process, curbing the “privileged position” of business, addressing problems of inequality, and, finally, making the “national security state” more transparent and less threatening to its own citizens. Moving from theory to policy, as Hudson does, is, by its very nature, controversial. In matters of politics, scholars disagree on what the problems are as well as how to deal with them. Students may ask, if experts (including college professors) cannot agree on the questions facing democracy, much less on the answers, what is the point of theorizing about democracy? The short answer is

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Campaigning for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama talks to young people during the primary season in Indiana. Nearly 6.5 million voters under the age of 30 participated at the polls, breaking records and helping Obama secure the nomination.

that even if it does not provide clear-cut solutions, theory helps us think about political problems, identify different policy options, and anticipate their consequences. The study of politics is a social science, and there is seldom agreement on the vital issues facing society. The existence of different viewpoints is a trademark of constitutional democracy. We turn, finally, to the question of democracy’s future. Are existing models of democracy still relevant, or is a new one needed that is tailored to fit the needs of a new world order?

THE FUTURE OF DEMOCRACY: NATIONALISM OR COSMOPOLITANISM? Wherever people have access to computers, they are connected to the outside world. The physical distances that separate us are no longer the great barriers they once were to the spread of popular culture, capital, consumer goods, services, and, yes, even ideas. Given the transforming nature of the new information technologies and an ever-expanding world trade system, is it possible that the state as the vessel of democracy is obsolescent?

Cosmopolitan Democracy Some scholars do believe we need a new model of democracy suitable to an age of globalization. Political scientist David Held has developed a model he calls cosmopolitan democracy that attempts to go beyond existing models. The word cosmopolitan in this context denotes a sense of belonging to the world rather than to a particular nation or state. A cosmopolitan individual is, by definition, a frequent traveler who is comfortable abroad, values cultural

cosmopolitan democracy A model of democracy that sees the individual as part of a world order, not merely (or even primarily) as a citizen of a particular nation-state.

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© AP PHOTOS

Are border controls and immigration restrictions that focus on nationalism justified in an age of globalization? What do you think?

diversity, and respects the rights of others to live and worship as they choose. Cosmopolitans find the nation-state too confining; they blame nationalism and tribalism for the prejudice and patriotic fervor that divides the world into “us” and “them” and instead foresee a strengthening sense of community without borders. Proponents of cosmopolitan democracy favor the extension of citizenship rights and responsibilities across supranational associations like the European Union (EU). In this way, “people would come . . . to enjoy multiple citizenships—political membership in the diverse political communities which significantly affect them.” They would be citizens of a state but also fully empowered members of “the wider regional and global networks” that are shaping the world we all live in.28 But it is unclear what it would mean to be governed by the rules and institutions of cosmopolitan democracy or to be a member of the new “polities” that are supposedly coming into existence. In fact, the entire concept remains shrouded in ambiguity. Cosmopolitan theorists have not explained why people should trade exclusive citizenship in a well-established polity (or state) for inclusive membership in unproven associations. As the saying goes, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. But these theorists’ challenge to the preeminence and permanence of the nation-state is nevertheless important. It seems unlikely that age-old loyalties, institutions, and ways of thinking will prove highly resistant to change.

Democracy in a New World Order Nobody knows exactly what globalization and the spread of information, particularly via the Internet, will mean for the future of democracy, but clearly the transformations taking place will change our economic and political institutions.

The Future of Democracy: Nationalism or Cosmopolitanism?

In Europe, for example, the EU now encompasses 27 member-states and constitutes the largest single economy in the world. Many obstacles still stand in the way of a full-fledged political union, but economic integration, a common currency (the euro), qualified majority voting in the European Council, and a directly elected European Parliament have already brought about significant change in the way Europeans are governed.29 Growing economic interdependence among the world’s countries is creating an ever-increasing flow of goods, services, labor, and capital across borders and oceans. The most powerful countries in the world, including the United States, exercise less internal control over their fiscal and monetary policies, tariffs, and other trade policies than they once did. Even in the area of immigration and naturalization, long considered a litmus test of state sovereignty, governments are finding it difficult to police international borders and prevent “illegals” from gaining entry. Democracy, in its many evolving varieties, has been a mainstay of the modern era. The number and variety of democracies multiplied during the course of the twentieth century, a process that greatly accelerated in the 1980s (in Latin America) and 1990s (Eastern Europe). Even so, it is much too soon to declare victory for democracy or defeat for the nation-state.

GATEWAYS TO THE WORLD: EXPLORING CYBERSPACE kclibrary.nhmccd.edu/constitutions-subject.html confinder.richmond.edu www.constitution.org/cons/natlcons.htm The first URL listed above is an excellent site containing the texts of the constitutional documents for more than seventy-five countries. For many countries, there are also accompanying documents, essays, and historical background. From this site, you will be able to compare and contrast various constitutions from around the world. You may also want to read Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America to get a sense of an outsider’s perspective on the political culture of a constitutional democracy in its early years. The other URLs listed above are similar sites providing information on constitutions from around the world. thomas.loc.gov Thomas is the site for the U.S. Congress on the Internet. This is the definitive resource on the American legislative branch, with categories ranging from information on specific members of Congress, to historical documents relating to Congress, to timely reports from the floor of the House and Senate.

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www.whitehouse.gov This is an excellent starting point for information on the executive branch of the U.S. government. You will find information on the president and vice president, including updates on the presidential agenda; a search function for locating White House documents, photographs, and audio files of speeches; and many other useful features. www.scaruffi.com/politics/democrat.html This website features a useful list of democratic regimes around the world). http://careers.state.gov/students/ This is the section of the official U.S. Department of State website devoted to students. www.ccd21.org Council for a Community of Democracies website. www.abc.net.au/civics/oneworld One World, Many Democracies website for schools. http://www.findlaw.com/11stategov/indexconst.html This site provides the texts for all 50 state constitutions.

SUMMARY In constitutional democracies, governments derive authority from the consent of the governed. Popular election, in theory, ensures that all viewpoints and interests will be represented. Such representation is the defining principle of a republic. Constitutions are designed to place limitations on what governments can and cannot do. There is no one universally accepted model or theory of liberal democracy. The type of liberal democracy we choose implies a particular view of the basic nature of human society and the main threat(s) to peace and stability. The idea of America is synonymous with representative democracy in the minds of people all over the world. For inspiration, the Founders drew upon the writings of political thinkers who lived and wrote from the time of the Renaissance to the Enlightenment and who were themselves inspired by classical political philosophy, particularly the writings of Plato and Aristotle from the time of ancient Greece. “The architecture of liberty” grew out of the new science of politics developed by the Founders. That new science was designed to prevent tyranny by compartmentalizing the functions of government (separation of powers) and ensuring that each of the compartments (branches) would

The Future of Democracy: Nationalism or Cosmopolitanism?

have the means to defend itself against encroachment by the others (checks and balances). We trace three distinct models of American democracy to the ideas of Thomas Jefferson (majority rule), James Madison (balanced government), and John C. Calhoun (brokered government). A fourth model of strong central government is associated with Alexander Hamilton. These early leaders disagreed about how much democracy was too much. Jefferson, for example, favored broad individual liberties and narrow limits on government, whereas Hamilton and others emphasized the need for an energetic national government. Madison falls somewhere between Jefferson and Hamilton. He recognized the danger of governmental paralysis, as well as the need for “energy,” but he argued that the best way to achieve freedom and stability was by encouraging a vigorous pluralism, or competition among rival interests. Calhoun was a proponent of states’ rights—his views contrasted most sharply with Hamilton’s and were closer to Jefferson’s. The concept of popular control through majority rule is central to the creation of a responsive government and holds that the wisdom and interests of the majority are preferable to those of the minority. However, constitutional democracies also place limits on the powers of the government. Protection of individual rights, the rule of law (constitutionalism), and federalism are the principal strategies used to prevent tyranny of the majority. The chapter closes with a look at four contemporary models of democracy and looks into the future of democracy in the light of globalization. A cosmopolitan model of democracy that has practical appeal is yet to be found, but there is no question that technology and globalizing forces have an impact on governments of all types, including democracies.

KEY TERMS constitutionalism direct democracy republic constitutional democracy concurrent powers majority rule plurality vote system checks and balances separation of powers federalism brokered democracy concurrent majority

nullification dual federalism Supremacy Clause unitary system power of the purse war powers presidential democracy tyranny of the majority bicameralism rule of law Magna Carta due process equal protection

ex post facto law bill of attainder protective democracy homeland security developmental democracy pluralist democracy participatory democracy cosmopolitan democracy

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REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. Describe the model of democracy you prefer, and differentiate it from the others. Why did you choose the one you did? 2. What is a republic? Do you think republics are or are not real democracies? Explain. 3. Name at least three classical models of American democracy, and explain how they differ from one another. 4. What is federalism? What advantages does this form of government offer? 5. Why did Alexis de Tocqueville (among others) express certain reservations about majority rule? 6. Discuss John Locke’s contribution to democratic theory. Can you locate Locke’s influence in the U.S. Constitution? If so, where is it? 7. For the theorists involved in the debate over the U.S. Constitution, what was the philosophy behind the “new science of politics”? 8. Recapitulate William Hudson’s typology of democracy, and relate it to the models of democracy discussed at the beginning of the chapter. 9. Define cosmopolitan democracy, and explain the political context of theoretical attempts to come up with a new, universal model of democracy.

RECOMMENDED READING Adair, Douglass. Fame and the Founding Fathers. New York: Norton, 1974. The author argues that the key Founders were motivated by a strong sense of history and moral probity, that they desired above all to be remembered for founding a just new political order (“fame”), and that they were not driven by personal political ambition or financial gain, as some revisionist historians have suggested. Brodie, Fawn. Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History. New York: Norton, 1974. An intriguing study of Jefferson the man rather than the legend. The author interweaves two dimensions of Jefferson’s life—the political and the personal. Jefferson comes across as being rather less heroic than the paragon often depicted in conventional histories and far from immune to human frailties. Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton. New York: Penguin Press, 2004. Simply a superb scholarly work on arguably the most important figure to emerge from the American Revolution. This book leaves no doubt that Hamilton was the chief architect of the political system that exists in the United States at present. Corwin, Edward. The “Higher Law”: Background of American Constitutional Law. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1955. A brief account of the rise of constitutionalism in Great Britain and the United States. Diamond, Larry. The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World. New York: Holt, 2009. A hopeful book by a well-respected scholar who sees a bright future for democracy and makes an intelligent case. Diamond, Martin. The Founding of the Democratic Republic. Itasca, IL: Peacock, 1981. An excellent and readable discussion of the ideas employed by the Founders to create a responsive, limited, and effective political order.

The Future of Democracy: Nationalism or Cosmopolitanism?

Dunn, John. Democracy: A History. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006. The author traces the history of the word “democracy” through the ages and asks how an idea that was first ridiculed and reviled and then virtually forgotten for centuries has come to symbolize the hopes and dreams of people around the world. Friedrich, Carl. Limited Government: A Comparison. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1974. A brief explanation of the relationship between constitutionalism and the idea of democracy. Greene, Jack, ed. The Reinterpretation of the American Revolution, 1763 to 1789. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1979. An outstanding collection of essays exploring American political ideas at a critical era; the essays by Bailyn, Diamond, and Kenyon are especially noteworthy. Hamilton, Alexander, John Jay, and James Madison. The Federalist Papers. New York: Modern Library, 1964. The foremost exposition of the ideas underlying the American democracy by those responsible for its creation. Held, David. Models of Democracy. 3rd ed. Stanford, CA: Polity and Stanford University Press, 2006. ________. Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modern State to Cosmopolitan Governance. Stanford, CA: Polity and Stanford University Press, 1995. These two books from David Held caused a stir in the field of political science when they first appeared. The emergence of fledgling democracies all over the world in the 1980s and 1990s created renewed interest in the theory of democracy. Hudson, William E. American Democracy in Peril: Eight Challenges to America’s Future, 4th ed. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House, 2003. This book reflects the continued interest of political scientists in the theories of democracy in general and in the problems and prospects for American democracy. Irons, Peter. A People’s History of the Supreme Court. New York: Penguin Books, 2006. This book covers the sweep of U.S. constitutional history from 1787 to the end of the twentieth century. Irons gives the reader a close-up look at the justices (warts and all), as well as the landmark cases they decided. He also writes about the lives and travails of the citizens who brought the cases before the Supreme Court. Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003. An excellent and entertaining biography of a larger-than-life figure who played a major role in the American Revolution and the founding of the United States. Ben Franklin’s literary and scientific achievements are well known and often overshadow his political contributions. Isaacson’s well-researched book corrects this deficit. Mayo, H. B. An Introduction to Democratic Theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 1960. This book provides a thorough discussion of the advantages, limitations, and distinctive aspects of democracy. McCullough, David. 1776. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005. ________. John Adams. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001. Like Ben Franklin, John Adams is often overshadowed in history books by such legendary figures as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson or by the intellectual, philosophical, and institution-building contributions of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. McCullough nicely demonstrates that John Adams’s qualities of mind and character more than made up for his lack of charisma, his often dyspeptic temperament, and his occasional lapses in judgment. McCullough also stresses the great behind-the-scenes role of John Adams’s wise and devoted wife, Abigail Adams. Zakaria, Fareed. The Future of Freedom. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. This book argues that democracy is not inherently good; that it works in some situations and not in others; and that it needs strong limitations to function properly.

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Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

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5

The Authoritarian Model Myth and Reality

The Virtues of Authoritarianism The Vices of Authoritarian Rulers The Characteristics of Authoritarian States The Politics of Authoritarianism Authoritarianism in Practice: A Tale of Two Countries Zimbabwe Nigeria Authoritarianism in Theory: Myth Versus Reality Myth 1: Authoritarianism Is a Sign of the Times Myth 2: Authoritarian Rulers Are Always Tyrannical Myth 3: Authoritarian Rulers Are Never Legitimate Myth 4: Authoritarian Rulers Are Always Unpopular Myth 5: Authoritarianism Has No Redeeming Qualities Myth 6: Authoritarianism Is the Worst Possible Form of Government The Future of Authoritarianism Authoritarianism and U.S. Foreign Policy

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U authoritarian state Government in which all legitimate power rests in one person (dictatorship) or a small group of persons (oligarchy), individual rights are subordinate to the wishes of the state, and all means necessary are used to maintain political power.

ntil relatively recently, authoritarian regimes greatly outnumbered democracies in the world. Indeed, prior to the 1980s—when democracies began to spring up in Latin America and, at the end of the decade, in Eastern Europe—democracies, with rare exceptions, existed only in Western Europe and North America. Authoritarian states come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They can be traditional (monarchies and theocracies) or modern (personal dictatorships or military juntas). One modern form of authoritarianism is so extreme that it has been given a new name—totalitarianism (see Chapter 6). At the other end of the authoritarian spectrum, a number of traditional monarchies still exist, mainly in the Arab Middle East. Examples include Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as tiny Bhutan, Brunei, and Swaziland. Whatever precise shape and form they assume, authoritarian states share certain telltale traits. Self-appointed rulers typically run the show, and all political power—in practice and often in principle—resides in one or several persons. Most authoritarian governments spurn utopian goals, although at the totalitarian extremes, the rulers do use a millenarian (or utopian) ideology to justify all state action, no matter how harsh or brutal. Typically, authoritarian rulers do not try to control every aspect of the society and the economy. Rather, they focus on keeping themselves in power and turning back all challenges to the status quo (the existing structures of state power). Authoritarian regimes continue to be the main alternative to constitutional democracy. As such, they warrant closer examination.

THE VIRTUES OF AUTHORITARIANISM Virtues? Think about it. Authoritarian regimes have had a great deal more success over a lot longer period than democracies. Outside a few relatively brief historical periods—classical Greece and Rome, medieval and Renaissance Italy, and the contemporary age—monarchy as a political system has had few serious challengers (though many individual monarchs have been less fortunate). Even during the more “enlightened” eras, monarchy was the most prevalent form of government. In the golden age of the Greek city-state system, for example, the principal alternative to monarchy was another form of authoritarianism, oligarchy. Republics were rare. Why? What are the advantages of authoritarian rule? First, it is relatively simple compared with democracy; there is less need to develop complex structures, procedures, and laws. Second, it is streamlined and thus (in theory) efficient. There is no need to bargain or compromise or cajole. Individuals loyal to the regime typically staff the bureaucracy. Recruitment is based on patronage and nepotism rather than on merit. Third, neither special interest groups nor public opinion can block or blunt state action; a predictably repressive response follows any opposition. Fourth, a strong leader can collect taxes, build infrastructure (canals, roads, bridges), raise armies, and rally the nation for defensive

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purposes like self-preservation or offensive ones like expansion. Fifth, unlike democracies, dictatorships often remain politically stable for a long time, even in the face of economic failure—witness Fidel Castro’s Cuba, where a dictatorship has survived for over half a century despite strenuous U.S. efforts to isolate and overthrow it. In contrast, democracies depend on economic prosperity and a robust middle class. Countries that can afford the luxury of schools and other social infrastructure essential to an informed citizenry are generally better candidates for democracy than are poor, less-developed countries, where people are caught up in a daily struggle for survival.

THE VICES OF AUTHORITARIAN RULERS

© HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

As Lord Acton (1834–1902) famously observed, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” There is something at once intoxicating and addictive about power—a first taste gives rise to an appetite that cannot be easily satisfied. (As the saying goes, “The appetite grows with the eating.”) Thus, the tendency to use power as a means of gaining more power is all too human. In short, whether we like it or not, evidence suggests authoritarian rule is more natural than democracy. But natural is not necessarily better. In politics, nature—especially human nature—is often the problem. The challenge is to find ways to temper the antisocial side of human nature, including greed, lust, jealousy, and desire for vengeance. In authoritarian states, a single ruler or a ruling elite controls the government. The single-head form of government is called an autocracy, whereas the elite-group form is known as an oligarchy, sometimes referred to as a junta

Lord Acton (1834–1902), known to history simply as Lord Acton, Baron John Emerich Edward Dahlberg-Acton was a distinguished British aristocrat and historian. He greatly admired the American federal structure, which he believed to be the ideal guarantor of individual liberty and as an ardent supporter of states’ rights he sympathized with the Confederacy in the American Civil War. Never one to engage in hero worship, Acton admonished that “Great men are almost always bad men.”

autocracy Unchecked political power exercised by a single ruler. oligarchy A form of authoritarian government in which a small group of powerful individuals wields absolute power. junta A ruling oligarchy, especially one made up of military officers.

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BOX 5.1 FOCUS ON

Fallen Tyrants of the Postwar Era—A Roll Call

Ruler

Country

Tenure

How Removed

Rafael Trujillo

Dominican Republic

1930–1961

Assassinated

François “Papa Doc” Duvalier

Haiti

1957–1971

Died in office

Idi Amin

Uganda

1971–1979

Ousted (fled)

Jean-Bedel Bokassa

Central African Republic

1965–1979

Ousted (fled)

Reza Pahlavi

Iran

1941–1979

Ousted (fled)

Augusto Pinochet

Chile

1973–1979

Lost election (fled)

Anastasio Somoza

Nicaragua

1967–1979

Ousted (fled)

Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier

Haiti

1971–1986

Ousted (fled)

Ferdinand Marcos

Philippines

1972–1986

Ousted (fled)

Alfredo Stroessner

Paraguay

1954–1989

Ousted (exiled)

Mobutu Sese Seko

The Congo (Zaire)

1965–1997

Ousted (fled)

Slobodan Milosevic

Serbia (former Yugoslavia)

1989–1997

Resigned

Saddam Hussein

Iraq

1979–2003

Ousted (executed)

or ruling clique. Authoritarian rulers are the sole repositories of power and authority within the political system. Their tenure in office depends not on elections, which confer the active consent of the people, but on a combination of myth and might. On the one hand, the people are often told that obedience to authority is a moral, sacred, or patriotic duty; on the other hand, the rulers stand ready to use brute force whenever rebellion rears its head. Authoritarianism and dictatorship go hand in hand. The dictators who came to power after World War II have nearly all died or been deposed (see Box 5.1). Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya is one exception; Fidel Castro of Cuba, now old and infirm, handed power to his younger brother Raúl in 2008 but remained First Secretary of the Communist Party. Dictators in Syria and Nigeria died in the late 1990s. Today, Bashar al-Assad, the son of Syria’s former dictator, rules as the strongman there; the Congo is in a prolonged state of turmoil after decades of rule by a thieving dictator named Mobutu; and Nigeria’s civilian government is plagued by corruption on all levels, threatened by internal ethnic and religious conflicts, and highly dependent on the military for security and stability. Until its turn toward democracy in the 1980s, Latin America had a long tradition of military rule. Indeed, after World War II, such rule was common in most regions of the world, including Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (the so-called Arab world), and sub-Saharan Africa. Egypt provides a good example

The Vices of Authoritarian Rulers

BOX 5.2 FOCUS ON

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Egypt’s Mubarak: President or Dictator?

Egypt’s leader, Hosni Mubarak, came to power following the assassination of President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981. Egypt is a solidly Islamic society, but Mubarak heads a secular state. President Mubarak was re-elected by plebiscites (direct popular votes) in 1987, 1993, and 1999. These had little or no validity, as Mubarak ran unopposed. In February 2005, in the face of rising domestic and international pressure for reform, Mubarak asked parliament to pass an amendment allowing political parties to contest the presidential election set for later in the year. To no one’s surprise, however, he was re-elected a fourth time, as the electoral institutions, security apparatus, and official state media remained firmly under his control. In fact, the election was marred by reports of massive vote rigging and other irregularities. The distant runner-up, Dr. Ayman Nour, contested the result and called for a new election. But he was already awaiting trial on apparently trumped-up charges of fraud, and shortly after the election he was convicted and sentenced to five years in jail. The United States called for his release, but to no avail. In recent years independent news outlets in Egypt have grown, especially newspapers that occasionally severely criticize the president and his family. However Reporters Without Borders

still ranks the Egyptian media 133rd of 168 countries in freedom of the press. According to the Human Development Index, which uses various economic and social standards and measures of comparison, Egypt ranks 111th of 177 countries. Egypt lacks the oil reserves that have made some other Arab nations rich, and its economy relies heavily on agriculture and on a massive annual foreign aid package from the United States. Many Egyptians blame Mubarak for the extreme social and economic inequality that allows a few wealthy Egyptians to live in luxury while the vast majority remains mired in poverty. Many also resent Mubarak’s submissive stance toward the United States and his refusal to confront Israel—policies that contrast sharply with his strong-arm tactics in dealing with domestic opponents. The Muslim Brotherhood, a militant Islamic group with a large popular following, is the main organized opposition in Egypt, but notorious extremist groups, such as Gamaa Islamiya and al-Jihad (Sadat’s assassins), also exist, despite draconian efforts by Egypt’s police and security forces to eliminate them. When Mubarak finally steps down, it appears likely his son, Gamal, will succeed him. If history is any guide, Egypt will continue to be a democracy in name only.

of a country in which a military strongman, Hosni Mubarak, exchanged his uniform for a business suit and became a civilian president under the pretext of being “elected” by the people (see Box 5.2). Where the military dominates the political system, it often rules as an institution rather than through a single individual. A ruling committee, or junta, consisting of generals headed by a “president” who is also a general, is the usual pattern. The military frequently claims legitimacy on the grounds that civilian leaders are corrupt and venal, or that only the military can maintain order and stability. Senior military officers continue to play an important governing role even in many of Latin America’s emerging democracies, which are headed by popularly elected civilian presidents. In Africa, signs that civilian rule was gaining

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ground in the 1990s have largely vanished, as many societies in that tragic region have been plagued by violence, disease, and poverty—and official corruption on a scale rarely matched and seemingly impossible to eradicate (see below). Authoritarian rulers generally do not respect individual rights when they interfere with the power or policy goals of the state. The interests of the state stand above the interests of society or the welfare of the rank-and-file citizenry. Arbitrary rules, strictly enforced—that is the essence of authoritarianism. Yet there are important differences among authoritarian rulers. They vary in the extent to which they impose conformity and suppress intellectual and artistic freedom. The amount of force, repression, and violence they employ also varies greatly. Some rulers use coercion sparingly, whereas others, appropriately labeled tyrants, display an enthusiasm for cracking down on dissenters. Finally, although all tyrants are dictators, not all dictators are tyrants (see Figure 5.1). Some, like the late Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia and Anwar al-Sadat of Egypt, occasionally pursue higher aims even at great personal and political risk. Ambitious national programs undertaken to industrialize, reform, or modernize the economy—as demonstrated by Lee Kuan Yew, the no-nonsense political boss of Singapore for three decades (1959–1990), and Deng Xaioping, FIGURE 5.1 Types of Authoritarian Governments

Authoritarian governments are characterized by a concentration of power and an intolerance of political opposition.

Autocratic and oligarchic governments differ in the number of rulers in control.

Autocratic (kings, caliphs, etc.)

Oligarchic (military juntas, cliques, etc.)

Benevolent and dictatorial regimes differ in that they have different ends for which political power is exercised.

Benevolent

Dictatorial

Hard-core

Benevolent

Clear rules, uniformly applied Hard and soft dictatorships differ in the methods they use to govern.

Dictatorial

Arbitrary rules, strictly enforced

Clear rules, uniformly applied

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119

who engineered China’s economic miracle after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 (see Chapter 8)—point to the possibility of a benevolent dictatorship. Of course, even benevolent dictators generally do not tolerate organized political opposition. For the people, the dictator’s self-restraint is often the only salvation. Iraq under Saddam Hussein was an example of what happens when a dictator recognizes no moral limits to the exercise of power. Self-restrained dictators also use repression at times to maintain law and order (as do democracies), but they typically stage elections, pay lip service to constitutional norms, and show a degree of tolerance toward religious beliefs and cultural differences. Egypt under Mubarak is a good example of a self-restrained dictatorship. The inherent flaw in all dictatorships, however, is that self-restraint never comes with any guarantees.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF AUTHORITARIAN STATES Authoritarian rulers frequently come to power by force or violence, using the element of surprise to overthrow the government in a coup d’etat. Until quite recently, such power seizures were common in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa. Maintaining a power monopoly is the main aim of authoritarian states. The army and the police are the principal instruments of coercion, hence the high incidence of military rule. Many civilian rulers of authoritarian states start out as military strongmen. In Egypt, for example, three of the past four leaders— Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak—were military commanders before becoming president. To frustrate actual or potential political opposition, authoritarian rulers often impose strict press censorship, outlaw opposition parties, and exert firm control over the legal system, which is manipulated to prosecute (and sometimes persecute) political opponents. Monopoly control of the mass media and the courts gives absolute rulers a potent propaganda tool and the means to suppress dissent in the face of official corruption and often egregious human rights violations, whereas repression is typically justified in the name of order and stability. Although some authoritarian states have actively promoted social and economic modernization (for example, Turkey, South Korea, and Taiwan have adopted far-reaching democratic reforms), most are characterized by agrarian economies, high unemployment, and mass poverty. Authoritarian rulers tend to seek control over the economy only to a limited extent and chiefly for the purpose of collecting taxes to underwrite military and economic programs as well as lavish personal expenditures. In sharp contrast to totalitarian regimes (see Chapter 6), most dictatorships are indifferent to the way people live or what they do, as long as they stay

coup d’état The attempted seizure of governmental power by an alternate power group (often the military) that seeks to gain control of vital government institutions without any fundamental alteration in the form of government or society.

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away from politics. To be sure, authoritarian rulers rarely make the lives of the people better—often, exactly the opposite is true. Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is a notorious case in point. Though authoritarian rulers rarely do what is best for the people, they often do prevent the worst by maintaining law and order, as Robert Kaplan argued in “The Coming Anarchy” (first published in The Atlantic Monthly in February 1994).1 In general, authoritarianism “does not attempt to get rid of or to transform all other groups or classes in the state, it simply reduces them to subservience.”2

THE POLITICS OF AUTHORITARIANISM Aristotle argued that all authoritarian forms of rule, despite important differences among them, are a perversion of good government. In his view, “Those constitutions which consider the common interest are right constitutions, judged by the standard of absolute justice,” whereas “those constitutions which consider only the personal interests of the rulers are all wrong constitutions, or perversions of the right forms. Such perverted forms are despotic.”3 This perversion of ends usually entails a like perversion of means. Despots (cruel dictators) often justify self-serving policies on the grounds that harsh measures are necessary to preserve order or protect the nation from its enemies. Or they may use brute force simply to mask or prevent criticism of their own failed policies. Throughout history, authoritarian rulers and regimes have been notorious for ruthlessly persecuting political opponents. Raising questions regarding who should rule or how is tantamount to treason. In short, where despotism thrives, politics does not.

AUTHORITARIANISM IN PRACTICE: A TALE OF TWO COUNTRIES Despite a promising trend toward constitutional rule in the 1990s, sub-Saharan Africa continues to be plagued by bad government. In this section we focus on two examples of misrule among many in the region—Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Zimbabwe is a society in crisis due to appalling mismanagement of the nation’s finances and agriculture. Nigeria, on the other hand, is sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous country (population: circa 150 million) and potentially one of its richest. Until very recently, however, a succession of military rulers squandered its vast oil resources, wasting a golden opportunity to diversify the oildependent economy. In the process, corrupt and incompetent generals wrecked Nigeria’s public finances and plunged the vast majority of Nigerians into poverty. As recently as 2007, 70 percent of Nigerians earned the equivalent of one dollar a day.

Authoritarianism in Practice: A Tale of Two Countries

121

Zimbabwe Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe was born in 1924 in what was then the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. He rose to prominence in the 1960s as the leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union during a long and bitter guerrilla war against white minority rule there. Victorious in 1980, he became the prime minister of the new Black African government of Zimbabwe and gradually gathered dictatorial powers in his own hands. Today, Zimbabwe is a failed state. At first hailed as a symbol of the new Africa, Mugabe, a lifelong Roman Catholic, has presided over one of the worst and most corrupt governments in the world, while utterly mismanaging Zimbabwe’s post-colonial economy. Under his despotic rule, the health and well-being of the people has dropped dramatically, in a natural result of widespread poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, and the absence of medical care—as well as a costly war with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (1998–2002). The government’s chaotic land reform program, which seized white-owned farms with the avowed aim of redistributing the land, effectively destroyed the only functioning sector of the economy and turned Zimbabwe into a net importer of food. Mugabe’s response to the economic crisis he created was to print money to cover soaring government deficits while stubbornly refusing to FIGURE 5.2 Types of Authoritarian Governments

ZAMBIA

MOZAMBIQUE Mavuradonha Wilderness Muzerabani

Matusadona National Park

Centenary

Victoria Falls

Chizarira National Park

Chegutu

Gokwe

ZIMBABWE

Lupane Hwange National Park

Nyamapanda

Chinhoyi

Binga

Harare Mt Nyangani (2592m)

Kwe Kwe

Mutare

Gweru Masvingo Bulawayo

BOTSWANA

Matobo National Park

Great Zimbabwe National Monument Gonarezhon National Park

Mt Selinda

Beitbridge MOZAMBIQUE SOUTH AFRICA

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institute economic reforms. The IMF eventually stopped lending to Zimbabwe because of arrears on past loans. Despite humanitarian food aid from the United States and the EU, according to the World Health Organization, Zimbabwe has the world’s shortest life expectancy (37 years for men and 34 for women), the most of orphans (about 25% of the country’s children, according to UNICEF), and the highest inflation rate (skyrocketing from over 1,000 percent in 2006 to 11.2 million percent in 2008). An estimated 3,800 Zimbabweans died of cholera in the last half of 2008. Due to mass hunger and disease, the population has shrunk from 12 million to less than 9 million. In January 2009, a newly released $50 billion note was just enough to buy two loaves of bread. Mugabe “won” re-election in 2002 only after having his leading opponent arrested for treason. In 2008, however, he lost the popular vote to Morgan Tsvangirai, but refused to hand over the reins of power, unleashing a spasm of violence that saw 163 people killed and some 5,000 tortured or brutally beaten. Under enormous international pressure and facing a re-energized domestic opposition, Mugabe finally agreed to a power sharing deal in September 2008, allowing Tsvangirai to become prime minister in a new dual-executive government. But, true to form, Mugabe broke the agreement, installing his own loyal lieutenants in every ministry. Mugabe, at age 85, remains Zimbabwe’s president. In 2009, PARADE magazine named Mugabe the world’s worst living dictator.

© AP PHOTOS

President Robert Mugabe of Nigeria—one of the worst dictators in the world. Too corrupt and venal to allow free elections, Mugabe nonetheless managed to lose a rigged national election for president in 2008, tried to suppress the outcome, refused to step down, and eventually entered into a power sharing agreement with the real winner, whom he quickly marginalized.

Authoritarianism in Practice: A Tale of Two Countries

Nigeria Potentially one of sub-Saharan Africa’s great powers, Nigeria endured inept military rule for much of its brief history as an independent state. Although the country accounts for only 3 percent of the African land mass, its 152 million people make up some 20 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s population. In the 1990s, Nigeria’s economy stagnated, growing by less than a half percent per year while corruption reached new heights. A 1996 UN fact-finding mission did not mince words: Nigeria’s “problems of human rights are terrible and the political problems are terrifying.” A succession of military dictators and ruling cliques enriched themselves shamelessly while utterly neglecting the country’s economic and social needs. According to Transparency International, a research institute based in Berlin, Germany, Nigeria had the most corrupt government in the world in the mid-1990s.4 By this time, bribery and extortion had become a way of life in Nigeria, where the system of “patronage” (with the military rulers bestowing government jobs and other favors on supporters of the regime) produced a bloated, inefficient, irresponsible, and unresponsive bureaucracy that absorbed more than 80 percent of the annual budget. Even today, it is not unusual to find petty civil servants sleeping at their desks or asking visitors for cash. Higher-level officials routinely inflate the contracts for everything the state procures and embezzle untold sums of money. There is no good reason for Nigeria or Nigerians to be poor. With a gross national product second only to South Africa’s, Nigeria is the sixth-biggest oil exporter in the world. But its oil bounty has not been invested in infrastructure, public works projects, or job-creating private business enterprise. In addition to suffering atrocious macroeconomic mismanagement, the country has also been plagued by tribal and ethnic rivalries. Nigeria is not a natural nation-state. Originally a British colony, it was drawn up primarily for the administrative convenience of its colonial rulers (see Chapter 9). Within its borders are peoples divided by region, religion, ethnicity, language, and culture. The fact that some 300 languages and dialects are spoken provides a glimpse of Nigeria’s astonishing diversity, which also makes it a breeding ground for social conflict. The country is also divided along religious lines: Muslims dominate in the north, and Christians in the south. The complexity and diversity of Nigerian society partially explains the failure of two previous experiments with democracy and elected civilian government (in 1960–1966 and 1979–1983). Nigeria’s military rulers repeatedly promised free elections, but these promises were not kept. When elections were held in 1993, the results displeased the generals, who nullified the election, imprisoned the winner, and charged him with treason. Thereafter, many other critics of the military regime were also imprisoned and persecuted; some were even executed. In 1999, a former military leader, Olusegun Obasanjo, became Nigeria’s first democratically elected president since 1983. Obasanjo was a rarity in Nigeria—a public figure with a military background and a reputation, justified or not, for personal integrity.

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President Obasanjo promised to root out corruption but, despite some eventual arrests and convictions, he had limited success. Here is how one New York Times reporter described the situation at the end of 2005: Corruption touches virtually every aspect of Nigerian life, from the millions of sham e-mail messages sent each year by people claiming to be Nigerian officials seeking help with transferring large sums of money out of the country, to the police officers who routinely set up roadblocks, sometimes every few hundred yards, to extract bribes of 20 naira, about 15 cents, from drivers.5 Nigeria has extensive fossil fuel resources, but crooked officials control the state oil company—the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)—using it as a cash cow for personal enrichment rather than as a resource for national economic development. Hopes for a new beginning in Nigeria were dashed in 2007 by widespread reports of fraud in local and parliamentary elections and a sham election for president. What some were calling “gangster politics” eclipsed outgoing President Obasanjo’s failed reforms.6 Despite some signs of recovery in 2008– 2009, including an annual growth rate of 5–6 percent, Nigeria’s economy remains woefully underdeveloped; its annual per capita gross national product was a mere $1,260 in 2008.

FIGURE 5.3 Map of Nigeria—Note that most of the country’s rich oil fields are located in the southern coastal river delta.

MALI

6

12 N I G E R

Sokoto

CHAD Lake Chad

Katsina Maiduguri

12

12

Kano Zaria Kaduna

BENIN

Jos

Ni

CHAD

ge

Ilorin

r

ABUJA

Yola

e nu Be Chappal Ogbomoso Oshogbo Makurdi Waddi Ibadan Benin Enugu City Lagos 6 6 Wami CAMEROON Bight of Calabar Bakasi Benin Peninsula Port Bayelsa Harcourt Gulf of Guinea 0 100 200 km EQUATORIAL 6 0 100 200 mi GUINEA

Authoritarianism in Theory: Myth Versus Reality

Madagascar

In March 2009, Andry Rajoelina, who seized power after leading a military coup by junior army officers, was sworn in as Madagascar’s president. The South African Development Community (SADC) condemned “in the strongest terms the unconstitutional actions that had led to the illegal ousting of the democratically elected president [Marc Ravalomanana].” The Organization for African Unity (OAU) and larger global community also refused to recognize the Rajoelina government. Rajoelina claimed that “true democracy” had triumphed over dictatorship and promised to abide by “the principles of good government.” Big wrongs call for big lies, like calling what happened in Madagascar “true democracy” or trashing the constitution in the name of “good government.” It’s enough to make Machiavelli blush.

© LANDOV MEDIA

BOX 5.3 SPOTLIGHT ON

125

Andry Rajoelina, the new president of Madagascar

AUTHORITARIANISM IN THEORY: MYTH VERSUS REALITY The stigma often attached to authoritarianism has given rise to various popular misconceptions. This section focuses on six common assumptions that, on closer examination, are half-truths at best—a blend of fact and myth.

Myth 1: Authoritarianism Is a Sign of the Times Authoritarianism is neither abnormal nor unique to the modern era. Indeed, at least until the second half of the twentieth century, it was the norm. At the time of the American Revolution, democracy was abnormal and widely viewed as a kind of aberration.7 In Politics, Aristotle provided an impressive catalog of the political tactics designed to render individuals incapable of concerted political action. Persons thought to represent a political threat were eliminated. Autocratic rulers isolated individuals from one another by banning common meals, cultural societies, and other communal activities. Such actions fostered insecurity and distrust and

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made it difficult for dissidents to create an underground political movement. Secret police and spies increased popular anxiety while obtaining information. Poverty, heavy taxes, and hard work monopolized the subjects’ time and attention. (As an example, Aristotle cited the construction of the Egyptian pyramids.) Finally, autocratic rulers viewed warmongering as a useful way of providing a diversion, “with the object of keeping their subjects constantly occupied and continually in need of a leader.”8 Aristotle’s list of autocratic political tactics was expanded and updated by the Italian political thinker Niccoló Machiavelli (1469–1527). We can view his famous book The Prince (1532) on one level as a kind of instructor’s manual for the successful authoritarian ruler. Those who would rule, Machiavelli contended, must practice “how not to be good.” They have no choice but to act immorally in order to survive, but they must take pains to appear honest and upright. It follows that successful rulers must be masters of deception. Machiavelli also advised would-be rulers not always to keep promises; to dissemble; to inspire both fear and love, but to rely on fear; and to cultivate the appearance of generosity while pursuing self-interest. Generosity for the prince meant giving away what belonged to others. Punishment should always be severe as well as swift; mild retribution, he observed, is more likely to arouse a spirit of rebellion and makes the ruler look weak and indecisive. By the same token, the sooner the bloodletting was over, the sooner it would be forgotten. Benefits, on the other hand, should be doled out little by little, so as to constantly remind those on the receiving end of the prince’s solicitude for the people. Not surprisingly, the word Machiavellian has come to be associated with ruthless, immoral acts. Yet Machiavelli did not invent the methods he prescribed. He simply translated a set of practices prevalent in the dog-eat-dog city-state system of sixteenth-century Italy into a general theory of politics.

MYTH 2: AUTHORITARIAN RULERS ARE ALWAYS TYRANNICAL Aristotle distinguished between two different forms of authoritarianism. One form, by far the most common of the two, relies on cruelty and repression— crude methods of political control. The purpose of such policies is to intimidate the population, thus inoculating the ruler(s) against a mass revolt. A second kind of authoritarian ruler displays concern for the common good and avoids ostentation, gives no sign of any impropriety, honors worthy citizens, erects public monuments, and so on. Such a “half-good” autocrat would clearly be preferable to a “no-good” one. Some autocratic rulers imprison, torture, and even murder real or imagined political enemies; others govern with a minimum of force. Some run the economy into the ground; others give economic development the highest priority. Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1919–1980) of Iran, for example, was both an

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Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) Renaissance Italy’s most famous political philosopher, Machiavelli is also one of its most controversial characters. He approached the study of politics as a scientist determined to record what he observes, not what others want to believe. The political arena was his laboratory. He was a remorseless realist. In The Prince, he offered shocking advice to rulers not to let moral inhibitions weaken them in the face of political necessity. But what is often forgotten or overlooked is that he also counseled prudence: “ . . . no prince has ever benefited from making himself hated.”

unrelenting persecutor of his political enemies and a progressive modernizer in the realm of cultural, economic, and social policy, where some measure of personal freedom existed. Similarly, the present-day governments of Taiwan and Singapore represent a curious mixture of democracy and dictatorship, yet both countries for years have enjoyed relatively high rates of economic growth and standards of living that were the envy of many Third World states.

Myth 3: Authoritarian Rulers Are Never Legitimate In the United States, we agree with John Locke that legitimacy arises from the consent of the governed. But consent is not the only measure of legitimacy—in fact, for long periods in history popular will was not even recognized as a criterion of legitimacy. Instead, from the late Middle Ages through the eighteenth century, the prevalent form of government in Europe was monarchy, based on divine right conferred by religious belief or royal birth conferred by heredity. In Imperial China, the dynastic principle was one source of the emperor’s legitimacy, but religion also played a major role; the Chinese emperor ruled under the “mandate of Heaven.” Many contemporary dictatorships have relied on a somewhat more informal and personal source of legitimacy—the popular appeal of a charismatic leader. Often charismatic rule is grounded in the personal magnetism, oratorical skills, or legendary feats of a national hero who has led the country to victory in war or revolution. Post-World War II examples include Egypt’s Nasser (1956–1970), Indonesia’s Sukarno (1945–1967), and Libya’s Qaddafi (1969–present). Many post-colonial Third World dictators came to power as “liberators” who led the struggle for independence and emerged as objects of hero worship.

charismatic leader A political leader who gains legitimacy largely through the adoration of the populace. Such adoration may spring from past heroic feats (real or imagined) or from personal oratorical skills and political writings.

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Divine sanction, tradition, and charisma, then, are the historical pillars of autocratic rule. More often than not, these wellsprings of legitimacy have effectively sold the idea that the rulers have a right to rule without consulting the people. Having the right to rule does not mean the same thing as ruling rightly, of course. And unfortunately, dictators and tyrants have too often used this “right” to commit serious wrongs. But legitimacy, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. If the people embrace an autocrat or dictator, no matter how brutal, evil, or corrupt he or she might be, that is what counts. What outsiders might think of a ruler like Cuba’s Fidel Castro or Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is irrelevant.

Myth 4: Authoritarian Rulers Are Always Unpopular Given a choice, everyone would choose to live in a democracy rather than a dictatorship, right? If that is so, how do we account for popular dictators? Undeniably, some inspire not only fear but also respect, trust, voluntary obedience, and even love. In the aftermath of war or revolution, for example, dictators sometimes usher in periods of economic development and political stability— changes that improve the lives of the people. One recent example is former President Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore; two historical examples are Catherine the Great of Russia and Frederick the Great of Prussia. Abraham Lincoln, one of our most admired and revered presidents, exercised dictatorial powers during the Civil War. Personal charisma is another source of popularity. The prototype of the charismatic “man on horseback” was Napoléon Bonaparte (1769–1821). Napoléon seized power in a France convulsed by revolution and led it in a series of spectacularly successful military campaigns, nearly conquering the entire European continent. At the height of his military success, Napoléon enjoyed almost universal popularity in France. Hitler, too, enjoyed broad support among the German rank and file. As one writer pointed out, It is sometimes assumed that one who rules with the support of the majority cannot be a tyrant; yet both Napoléon and Hitler, two of the greatest tyrants of all time, may well have had majority support through a great part of their reigns. Napoléon, in many of his aggressive campaigns, probably had majority support among the French, but his actions . . . were nonetheless tyrannical for that. Hitler, for all we know, might have had at least tacit support of the majority of the German people in his campaign against the Jews; his action was nonetheless tyrannical for that . . . A tyrant . . . may in many of his measures have popular support, but . . . his power will not depend upon it.9 Good people will not necessarily stand in the way of bad rulers. As the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881) observed, in an age of equality, the masses desire security above all else, and they will gladly accept despotism in order to escape the burdens that accompany the benefits of freedom.10 The truth is that despotic government is often more popular than we care to believe.

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Myth 5: Authoritarianism Has No Redeeming Qualities

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Even the worst tyrants can bring order out of political chaos and material progress out of economic stagnation. Hitler jump-started Germany’s economy. Apologists for Benito Mussolini (1883–1945), Italy’s fascist dictator in World War II, have noted that at least he made the trains run on time. Stalin industrialized Soviet Russia and thus set the stage for its rise to superpower status after World War II. Such public policy successes by no means justify the excesses of these tyrants, but they do help explain their domestic popularity. Perhaps the most impressive example of an autocratic regime that succeeded in creating sustained social and economic progress comes not from Europe but from China. Baron de Montesquieu, Adam Smith, and Karl Marx were all moved to comment on the classical Chinese system of government.11 The vast network of dikes, irrigation ditches, and waterways that crisscrossed the immense Chinese realm is particularly noteworthy. This hydraulic system represented a signal achievement, exceeding in scale and scope any public works ever undertaken in the West in pre-modern times. What kind of civilization could build public works on such a stupendous scale? One modern scholar, Karl Wittfogel, theorized that the Chinese system, which he labeled “oriental despotism,” owed its distinctive features to the challenges of sustaining a huge population in a harsh and demanding environment.12 Rice has long been a staple in China, and rice cultivation requires large amounts of water under controlled conditions. Thus, to solve the perennial food problem, Chinese civilization first had to solve the perennial water problem. This meant building sophisticated flood control, irrigation, and drainage works. The result was a system of permanent agriculture that enabled Chinese

Chinese peasant in rice paddy. In his book Oriental Despotism (1975), German-American historian Karl Wittfogel called civilizations whose agriculture was dependent upon large-scale waterworks for irrigation and flood control “hydraulic civilizations.” In ancient times, massive building projects necessitated centralized control— an absolutist bureaucratic state developed that monopolized political and economic power. Major examples in Wittfogel’s study were Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, pre-Columbian Mexico, and Peru. Prominent features of this type of civilization included forced labor and a bureaucracy.

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peasants to cultivate the same land for centuries without stripping the soil of its nutrients. Constructing such a system necessitated a strong central government. A project as ambitious as the transformation of the natural environment in the ancient world could not have been attempted without political continuity and stability, social cohesion, scientific planning, resource mobilization, labor conscription, and bureaucratic coordination on a truly extraordinary scale. Thus, the technology and logistics of China’s system of permanent agriculture gave rise to a vast bureaucracy and justified a thoroughgoing, imperial dictatorship. Private property ownership was rare and vast public works projects were designed and implemented by a centralized bureaucracy dedicated to efficient administration. Admission to the bureaucratic class was based on a series of examinations. At the apex of the power pyramid sat the emperor, who ruled under the mandate of Heaven and whose power was absolute. What about the Chinese people under this highly centralized form of government? The rank-and-file traded labor for food and were treated as subjects, not citizens. The masses had duties in relation to the state but no rights. On the positive side, Imperial China lasted longer than any other system of government the world has ever known (from about 900 to 1800). As the saying goes, nothing succeeds like success. Imperial China presents us with a paradox. On the one hand, it stands as an example of a ruling order more despotic than most traditional forms of Western authoritarianism.13 On the other hand, its economic and technical achievements, along with its art, language, and literature, were extremely impressive by any standard. Significant material advances accompanied China’s early economic development. Although the emperors and scholar-officials were neither liberal nor politically enlightened, their system of hydraulic despotism resulted in a sufficient supply of food to support a large and growing population for centuries—though not without occasional famines. Today, China continues to be governed under a centralized, authoritarian system, but despite having the world’s largest population (1.3 billion), it boasts one of the world’s fastest growing economies (see Chapter 8). On the other hand, China was in continual turmoil and plunged into an economic abyss for a quarter of a century after World War II under Chairman Mao, demonstrating the perils of a dictatorship devoid of checks and balances (see Chapter 6). Still, we often apply tougher standards to dictatorships than to democracies. No form of government comes with a guarantee, including democracy.

Myth 6: Authoritarianism Is the Worst Possible Government Totalitarian states (the focus of the next chapter) go well beyond traditional autocracies in trampling on human rights—rounding up enemies, using slave labor, and carrying out acts of mass murder. One of the grim lessons of the last century is that the worst possible government is worse than most of us can imagine.

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THE FUTURE OF AUTHORITARIANISM Between 1974 and 1990, more than 30 countries in Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe shifted from a nondemocratic to a democratic form of government.14 During the 1980s, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay replaced military rulers, opting for more democratic alternatives. Central American nations followed suit. In 1989, a wave of revolutions swept communist regimes from power across Eastern Europe. Democracy also made inroads in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. In the early 1990s, many African countries held multiparty elections or adopted reforms designed to lead to such elections.15 At the same time, South Africa’s repressive apartheid system, based on a racist ideology of white supremacy, was abolished and replaced by majority rule. How deep and enduring the trend away from authoritarian governments will be is still an open question. Can we look forward to a future when, for the first time in human history, democracy will be the global norm? Certainly, the contemporary world features many examples of successful democracies and failed dictatorships, and the prosperity common to many democratic states encourages imitators. But it is premature to proclaim a victory for democracy. Indeed, in the past decade much of Africa has slid back into a chaotic authoritarianism bordering on anarchy.15 The rise of Islamism, a fanatical, violent, anti-Western form of Islam, is a reminder that Western-style democracy continues to face major challenges in many parts of the world. Another is the return of the centralized authoritarian state in Russia, which is “run largely in the interests of a ruling clique.”16 Democracy has often suffered reversals even in the West, where popular rule has the deepest roots.17 In Latin America, democracy is widespread yet in places remains fragile and unstable. Several countries, including Colombia, Peru, and Mexico, face internal threats from guerrilla and terrorist groups. In 2004, a New York Times reporter painted this bleak picture: In the last few years, six elected heads of state have been ousted in the face of violent unrest, something nearly unheard of in the previous decade. A widely noted United Nations survey of 19,000 Latin Americans in 18 countries in April produced a startling result: a majority would choose a dictator over an elected leader if that provided economic benefits.18 He added, “Analysts say that the main source of the discontent is corruption and the widespread feeling that elected governments have done little or nothing to help the 220 million people in the region who still live in poverty, about 43 percent of the population.” Great disparities in wealth and living standards in today’s world help explain popular discontent with democracy. There are many countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa where modern economies have yet to be created. Gross economic and educational inequalities persist and

apartheid system The South African system designed to perpetuate racial domination by whites prior to the advent of black majority rule there in the early 1990s.

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worsen with the passage of time. Stagnant economies and tribal or ethnic divisions destabilize many developing societies. Even in countries where the military has relinquished power, generals often continue to exert a behind-the-scenes influence over civilian governments. Where the principle of civilian rule is open to question, the government is fragile and the fear of anarchy is real, the abrupt return of military dictatorship remains an ever-present possibility. Dictators come and go, but it is too soon to write the obituary for authoritarian rule.

AUTHORITARIANISM AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY Soon after the end of World War II, the United States found itself engaged in a cold war with the Soviet Union. The Cold War was not a natural rivalry between two great powers but rather a struggle to the death between two rival systems of morality, economics, and government. The ideologies of these two rivals were absolutely incompatible. The United States pursued a policy of “containment” based on the theory that communism would eventually collapse of its own dead weight, while the Soviet Union drew upon Marx’s prediction that capitalism was headed for the “dustbin of history.” The two principals in this contest divided the world into two halves—East and West, communist and capitalist, good and evil. One thing the implacable foes agreed on, however, was that neutrality was not an option: with few exceptions, the nations of the earth would have to choose between them. In reality, the world was never so neatly divisible. Many developing countries preferred to remain nonaligned. Egypt, India, and Indonesia attempted to launch a nonaligned movement in the 1950s that, for a time, appeared to be getting off the ground. But the Cold War protagonists cajoled, pressured, and enticed the leaders of these fledgling states with foreign aid, weapons transfers, and cash. By the mid-1960s, most governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America had chosen sides. In the rush to recruit Third World leaders who would jump on the anticommunist bandwagon for a price, the United States frequently found itself using “dollar diplomacy” and other inducements to prop up right-wing dictatorships— and looking the other way when friendly regimes committed gross violations of human rights.19 Although the Cold War is now over, its legacy lives on, as critics of the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq made clear by pointing out that the United States had secretly supported Saddam Hussein during the bloody Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s (see Box 5.4). That Saddam was a brutal dictator did not matter to Washington; what mattered was that Iraq and Iran were enemies, and, as the saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Unfortunately, as events in the Balkans, West Africa, and elsewhere in the 1990s showed, when an autocrat dies or is ousted, the result is not always democracy, peace, and prosperity—that is one of the most important lessons of

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BOX 5.4 FOCUS ON

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The Butcher of Baghdad

In many respects the iron-fisted Saddam Hussein, who was ousted in 2003 after ruling Iraq for 24 years, was the “perfect” tyrant. Saddam’s heroes were modern history’s most ruthless dictators. Saddam has been aptly compared with Joseph Stalin, the brutal Soviet dictator who summarily executed countless “enemies” and sent millions more to work and die in slave labor camps. Like Stalin, Saddam ruled through a tightly controlled monolithic political organization, the Ba’ath Party, which was virtually indistinguishable from the state. Like Stalin, he turned the country into a vast prison. And like Stalin, he perpetuated his rule through paralyzing fear, induced by highly publicized mock trials and police-state terror. No one knows for certain how many Iraqis became victims of the Ba’athist regime during Saddam’s 24-year rule. That he routinely imprisoned all whom he suspected of disloyalty, that he used poison gas against whole villages to punish rebellious Kurds in the north, and that he tortured many of his victims without mercy are facts well known to Iraqis. Iraqi “traitors” and “enemies of the state” were not safe even abroad. At Saddam’s behest, secret agents murdered scores of dissidents in exile in the 1980s and 1990s.

As Saddam put it, “The hand of the revolution can reach out to its enemies wherever they are found.”* Saddam emulated Stalin’s use of ideology and propaganda to justify or legitimize his crimes against humanity by extolling the “historical mission” of the Ba’ath Party. If the regime brutalized and dehumanized anyone who got in its way, it was always for a “higher purpose.” In fact, Saddam’s purposes were purely selfserving: to stay in power and live like a king while his people sank ever deeper into poverty. Between 1991 and 1995, he reportedly built fifty new palaces at a cost of $1.5 billion; the largest was bigger than Versailles. Saddam displayed no conscience and no remorse in doing whatever he deemed necessary to control Iraqi society while he plundered the economy. Following his capture, trial, and conviction for mass murder in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Saddam was hanged in Baghdad on December 30, 2006. He was defiant and unrepentant to the end—the eternal perfect tyrant. *Quoted in Elaine Sciolino, The Outlaw State: Saddam Hussein’s Quest for Power and the Gulf Crisis (New York: Wiley, 1991), p. 91.

the post–Cold War era. Closer to home, as Robert Kaplan noted, “Look at Haiti, a small country only 90 minutes by air from Miami, where 22,000 American soldiers were dispatched in 1994 to restore ‘democracy’ Five percent of eligible Haitian voters participated in [the last] election, chronic instability continues, and famine threatens.”20 Kaplan continued, Those who think that America can establish democracy the world over should heed the words of the late American theologian and philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr: “The same strength which has extended our power beyond a continent has also . . . brought us into a vast web of history in which other wills, running in oblique or contrasting directions to our own, inevitably hinder or contradict what we most fervently desire. We

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cannot simply have our way, not even when we believe our way is to have the “happiness of mankind” as its promise.21 These words proved prophetic. In early 2004, exactly a decade after Kaplan’s warning about the dangers of anarchy in impoverished, out-of-the-way countries like Haiti was first published in The Atlantic Monthly, Haiti’s elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was forced to flee as mob violence threatened to plunge the country into chaos. The crisis ended only after a U.S. Marine Corps contingent was deployed to restore calm. Autocrats are often brutal and even sadistic. But where the fear and awe they inspire, and the ruthless methods they employ, prevent a descent into anarchy, it is quite possibly the lesser of two great evils. In Kaplan’s words: The lesson to draw is not that dictatorship is good and democracy bad but that democracy emerges successfully only as a capstone to other social and economic achievements . . . Tocqueville showed how democracy evolved in the West not through the kind of moral fiat we are trying to impose throughout the world but as an organic outgrowth of development.22 The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 that ousted Saddam Hussein left the U.S. military as the only source of order in the country. After years of misrule and more than a decade under UN.-imposed economic sanctions, Iraq was impoverished and its three major communities—Kurds in the north, Sunni in the center, and Shi’a in the south—were deeply divided. In early 2009, six years after the invasion, Baghdad, despite the heavy presence of U.S. troops, is still an urban battleground, but no longer a house of horrors, with terrorist bombings, kidnappings, torture, and videotaped beheadings. The immediate danger of Iraq sinking into anarchy has receded but not disappeared. President Obama has set a timetable to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq that would end the U.S. combat mission on August 31, 2010, although some 35,000 to 50,000 troops would remain (presumably as “trainers”). If all goes according to plan (a big “if” at this point), all U.S. troops will withdraw by the last day of 2011. What will happen next is anybody’s guess. In Iraq, as in Afghanistan and other troubled parts of the world, it is possible that the only real choice at this stage in history is between anarchy and authoritarianism.

GATEWAYS TO THE WORLD: EXPLORING CYBERSPACE Many countries discussed in this chapter have individual Websites devoted to aspects of their political, historical, and social culture. To find a list of these sites, use the name of the specific country of interest as your search term. You

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should be particularly aware of the group or individual that sponsors or maintains each Website. Shell Oil’s Nigeria Website is likely to take a very different stance on the impact of multinational corporations on the Nigerian economy than would the Website of a patriotic Nigerian business leader. www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/special/iraq This site features information on the fallen Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. www.amnesty.org Amnesty International’s website is an excellent source of information for further exploration of the impact of Nigerian authoritarianism on human rights. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authoritarianism A place to start. Click the various terms such as absolute monarchies, dictatorships, despotisms, and theocracies for definitions and exegesis. Check out militarchies. As with all Wikipedia material, the quality is not consistent, so proceed with this caveat in mind.

SUMMARY When one or more self-appointed rulers exercise unchecked political power, the result is a dictatorship. Benevolent autocrats (who are somewhat concerned with advancing the public good), ordinary dictators (who are concerned solely with advancing their own interests), and tyrants (who exhibit great enthusiasm for violence and bloodletting) all qualify as dictators, but even slight differences can make a significant alteration in the lives of the people who, by definition, have no voice in how they are governed. Historically, authoritarian rulers have provided the most common form of government. Yet despite their prevalence, authoritarian regimes have been regarded as perversions of good government because they almost always place the ruler’s interests ahead of the public good. Nigeria provides a good example of a contemporary authoritarian state. Misconceptions about authoritarian regimes abound. It is not true that dictatorial rule is a modern phenomenon or that all authoritarian states are identical, illegitimate, or unpopular with their citizens. Further, we can differentiate such governments on moral grounds: Some seek to promote the public interest; others do not. Moreover, authoritarian regimes do not represent the worst possible form of government in all cases. Finally, despite some evidence that authoritarian government is giving way to democracy, it is too early to draw any definitive conclusions. The record of U.S. relations with authoritarian states is replete with inconsistencies and contradictions. The latter have weakened the U.S. moral position in international politics, complicated its diplomatic efforts, and led to charges of hypocrisy.

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KEY TERMS authoritarian states autocracy oligarchy

junta coup d’etat charismatic leader

apartheid system

REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. What are the two basic types of nondemocratic government? What are the chief characteristics of authoritarian governments? 2. Are authoritarian governments becoming less prevalent? Where are such governments found today? 3. Are all autocrats tyrannical? Explain. 4. What kind of “advice” did Machiavelli give to rulers bent on maintaining their power? 5. Summarize the six myths that surround authoritarian governments. What fallacies underlie these myths?

RECOMMENDED READING Boesche, Roger. Theories of Tyranny, from Plato to Arendt. University Park: Pennsylvania State Press, 1996. Many authoritarian rulers have been tyrants, and tyranny has been a subject of study for some of the greatest political thinkers. This book examines both. Brownlee, Jason. Authoritarianism in an Age of Democratization. New York and London: Cambridge University Press, 2007. This book is based on fieldwork in Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, and the Philippines and seeks to explain the mixed record of democratic reforms in these countries by comparing how ruling parties originated. Crick, Bernard. Basic Forms of Government: A Sketch and a Model. Magnolia, MA: Peter Smith, 1994. This short, yet comprehensive, outline of types of governments contrasts authoritarian with totalitarian and democratic states. Kalanthil, Shanthi, and Taylor C. Boas. Closed Networks, Closed Regimes: The Impact of the Internet on Authoritarian Rule. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2003. The title tells the tale. Kaplan, Robert. The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War. New York: Vintage Books, 2000. A nicely arranged collection of insightful pieces on the challenges of the post–Cold War international system, featuring as its centerpiece the author’s widely discussed article on the danger of anarchy—most notably in West Africa and the Balkans—originally published in The Atlantic Monthly in February 1994. Karsh, Efraim, and Inari Rautsi. Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography. New York: Grove Press, 1991 (revised introduction and epilogue, 2002). Although Saddam Hussein is dead and gone, this book is still worth reading as a study in the personality and practices of a modern tyrant who was apparently quite unencumbered by a moral conscience. Laber, Jeri. “The Dictatorship Returns.” New York Review of Books, vol. 40, no. 13, July 15, 1993. This book describes the return of a Soviet-era one-man dictatorship in Turkmenistan. The dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in December 2006, ruled by dint of a personality cult in one of the most authoritarian states in the world.

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Latey, Maurice. Patterns of Tyranny. New York: Atheneum, 1969. A study that attempts to classify and analyze various tyrannies throughout history. Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince, translated by Harvey C. Mansfield Jr. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985. This classic study describes the methods tyrants must use to maintain power. Moore, Barrington. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993. A general discussion of the relationship between social conditions and political systems. Rubin, Barry. Modern Dictators: Third World Coup Makers, Strongmen, and Political Tyrants. New York: New American Library/Dutton, 1989. A good general discussion of various nondemocratic regimes that have held power in the post–World War II era. Skierka, Volker. Fidel Castro: A Biography. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2004. First published in German in 2000, this book is a well-researched narrative of Castro’s life. Szulc, Tad. Fidel: A Critical Portrait. New York: Avon Books, 1986. A highly acclaimed biography by a former New York Times foreign correspondent based on extensive interviews with Castro, as well as with friends and associates of the Cuban dictator.

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North Korea’s President Kim Jong Il presides over one of the last Soviet-style totalitarian states still in existence—a country often called the Hermit Kingdom because it is so cut off from the rest of the world, seemingly bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.

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The Totalitarian Model False Utopias The Essence of Totalitarianism The Revolutionary Stage of Totalitarianism Leadership Ideology Organization Propaganda Violence The Consolidation of Power Eliminating Opposition Parties Purging Real or Imagined Rivals Within the Party Creating a Monolithic Society The Transformation of Society The Soviet Union under Stalin Germany under Hitler China under Mao The Human Cost of Totalitarianism Other Faces of Totalitarianism The Short Lives of the Worst Regimes

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totalitarianism A political system in which every facet of the society, the economy, and the government is tightly controlled by the ruling elite. Secret police terrorism and a radical ideology implemented through mass mobilization and propaganda are hallmarks of the totalitarian state’s methods and goals.

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A

new and more malignant form of tyranny called totalitarianism reared its ugly head in the twentieth century. The term itself denotes complete domination of a society and its members by tyrannical rulers and imposed beliefs. The totalitarian obsession with control extends beyond the public realm into the private lives of citizens. Imagine living in a world in which politics is forbidden and everything is political—including work, education, religion, sports, social organizations, and even the family. Neighbors spy on neighbors and children are encouraged to report “disloyal” parents. “Enemies of the people” are exterminated. Who are these “enemies”? Defined in terms of whole categories or groups within society, they typically encompass hundreds of thousands and even millions of people who are “objectively” counterrevolutionary—for example, Jews and Gypsies (Romany) in Nazi Germany, the bourgeoisie (middle class) and kulaks (rich farmers) in Soviet Russia, and so on. By contrast, authoritarian governments typically seek to maintain political power (rather than to transform society) and more narrowly define political enemies as individuals (not groups) actively engaged in opposing the existing state. Why study totalitarianism now that the Soviet Union no longer exists? First, communism is not the only possible form of totalitarian state. The examples of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy are reminders that totalitarianism is not a product of one ideology, regime, or ruler. Second, totalitarianism is an integral part of contemporary history. Many who suffered directly at the hands of totalitarian dictators or lost loved ones in Hitler’s Holocaust, Stalin’s Reign of Terror, Mao’s horrific purges, or other, more recent instances of totalitarian brutality are still living. The physical and emotional scars of the victims remain even after the tyrants are long gone. Third, totalitarian states demonstrate the risks of idealism gone awry. Based on a millenarian vision of social progress and perfection that cannot be pursued without resort to barbaric measures (and cannot be achieved even then), they all have failed miserably as experiments in utopian nation building. Finally, as we will see, totalitarianism remains a possibility wherever there is great poverty, injustice, and therefore the potential for violence and turmoil—recent examples include Iran, North Korea, and Burma. It is dangerous to assume the world has seen the last of the totalitarian tyrants. Indeed, the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States raised several poignant questions: Is it possible that future totalitarian threats to peace and freedom will not necessarily be posed by a figure who heads a government or rules a state? Are Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network such a threat? After all, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which harbored bin Laden and his organization, displayed many of the characteristics of a totalitarian state. One of the lessons of 9/11 is that extremism remains a fact of political life in the contemporary world. It can take many malignant forms. Terrorism is one; totalitarianism is another. This chapter demonstrates clearly that totalitarianism and terror go hand in hand.

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THE ESSENCE OF TOTALITARIANISM Violence is at the core of every totalitarian state—at its worst, it assumes the form of indiscriminate mass terror and genocide aimed at whole groups, categories, or classes of people who are labeled enemies, counterrevolutionaries, spies, or saboteurs. Mass mobilization is carried out through a highly regimented and centralized one-party system in the name of an official ideology that functions as a kind of state religion. The state employs a propaganda and censorship apparatus far more sophisticated and effective than that typically found in authoritarian states. As the late William Kornhauser, a sociologist, wrote in a highly acclaimed study, “Totalitarianism is limited only by the need to keep large numbers of people in a state of constant activity controlled by the elite.”1 Totalitarian ideologies promise the advent of a new social order—whether a racially pure “Aryan” society envisioned by Adolf Hitler, or the classless society promised by Lenin and Josef Stalin, or the peasant society in a permanent state of revolution Mao Zedong imagined. All such totalitarian prophets “have exhibited a basic likeness . . . [in seeking] a higher and unprecedented kind of human existence.”2 We can trace the totalitarian leader’s claim of political legitimacy directly to this self-proclaimed aim of creating a new utopian society.3 Totalitarian societies are “thoroughly egalitarian: no social differences will remain; even authority and expertise, from the scientific to the artistic, cannot be tolerated.”4 Thus, individualism is rejected and even criminalized. The rights of society are paramount, leaving no room at all for the rights of the individual. At the heart of this harmonious community lies the concept of a reformulated human nature. The impulse to human perfection was reflected in Lenin’s repeated references to the creation of a “new Soviet man” and in the Nazi assertion that party workers and leaders represented a new type of human being or a new breed of “racially pure” rulers. Mao Zedong displayed a near obsession with something he called rectification—the radical purging of all capitalist tendencies, such as materialism and individualism, at all levels of Chinese society. The clearest examples of such utopian political orders have been Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union (especially during Stalin’s Reign of Terror), and Maoist China. Other examples include Pol Pot’s Cambodia (1976–1979) and Mengistu’s Ethiopia (1977–1991), and Kim Jong Il’s North Korea (still in existence in 2009). In the following section we examine the stages in the evolution of totalitarian regimes.

THE REVOLUTIONARY STAGE OF TOTALITARIANISM How do totalitarian movements start? Typically, they emerge from the wreckage of a collapsed or collapsing state. In such turbulent times, a charismatic leader sometimes steps onto the scene. Leadership is crucial to the success of

rectification In Maoist China, the elimination of all purported capitalist traits, such as materialism and individualism.

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any revolution. In the case of total revolution, leadership is one of five key elements. Ideology, organization, propaganda, and violence are the other four.

Leadership Perhaps the most conspicuous trait of total revolution has been reliance on what we may term the cult of leadership. Virtually every such revolution has been identified with—indeed, personified in—the image of a larger-than-life figure. The Russian Revolution had its Lenin, the Third Reich its Hitler, the Chinese Revolution its Mao, Cuba its Castro, and so forth. Each of these leaders became the object of hero worship. Without such a leader, observed Eric Hoffer, “there will be no [mass] movement.” It was Lenin who forced the flow of events into the channels of the Bolshevik revolution. Had he died in Switzerland or on his way to Russia in 1917, it is almost certain that the other prominent Bolsheviks would have joined a coalition government. The result might have been a more or less liberal republic run chiefly by the bourgeoisie. In the case of Mussolini or Hitler the evidence is even more decisive: without them there would have been neither a Fascist nor a Nazi movement.5 Revolutionary leaders instinctively understand that the masses possess the raw power to change the world but lack the will and direction. Without a charismatic leader—one who can read their minds, capture their imagination, and win their hearts—there is nothing to act as a catalyst. A leader such as Lenin or Mao, then, is to a mass movement what a detonator is to a bomb.

Ideology Whatever the quality of leadership, total revolutions depend in the final analysis on the willingness of converts to engage in extraordinary acts of self-sacrifice in the name of the cause. Such reckless devotion cannot be inspired by rational appeals. It must arise, rather, from the true believer’s blind faith in the absolute truth provided by a comprehensive political doctrine. Consider what an ideology must do for its followers if it is to be successful: It must claim scientific authority which gives the believer a conviction of having the exclusive key to all knowledge; it must promise a millennium to be brought about for the chosen race or class by the elect who holds this key; it must identify a host of ogres and demons to be overcome before this happy state is brought about; it must enlist the dynamic of hatred, envy, and fear (whether of class or race) and justify these low passions by the loftiness of its aims.6

The Need for a Scapegoat: Reinterpreting the Past As a critique of the past, ideology generally focuses on some form of absolute evil to which it can attribute all national (or worldwide) wrongs and social injustices. To the revolutionary ideologue, the true causes of economic recession, inflation, military

The Revolutionary Stage of Totalitarianism

defeat, official corruption, national humiliation, moral decadence, and other perceived problems are rooted in the mysteries and plots of a rejected past. If an enemy does not exist, it is necessary to invent one. Usually it is an individual or a group that was already widely feared, hated, or envied. Lenin blamed the plight of workers on money-grubbing capitalists. Hitler blamed Jews and communists for the German loss in World War I and the economic crises that preceded his assumption of power. Mao found his enemy first in wealthy landlords and later in “capitalist roaders.” Clearly, the purpose of these ploys was to focus mass attention on a readily identifiable scapegoat on whose shoulders all the nation’s ills could be placed. According to Hoffer, “Mass movements can rise and spread without a belief in God, but never without a belief in a devil.”7 Hate and prejudice, rather than love and high principle, seem the most effective forces in bringing people together in a common cause.

Revolutionary Struggle: Explaining the Present As a guide to the present, ideology provides the true believer with keys to a “correct” analysis of the underlying forces at work in contemporary society. Concepts such as class struggle for Marxist-Leninists, Herrenvolk (master race) for the Nazis, and “contradictions” for Mao’s followers were used to explain and predict social reality. Yesterday the enemy was preeminent; today the enemy will be defeated. Advocates of total revolution believe struggle is the very essence of politics. For Marxist-Leninists, class struggle was the engine of progress in history. For Maoists, struggle was a desirable end in itself; only through the direct experience of revolutionary struggle, they believed, could the masses (and especially the young) learn the true meaning of self-sacrifice. Hitler glorified the struggle for power by proclaiming war to be the supreme test of national greatness. (Revealingly, Hitler outlined his own path to political power in a book titled Mein Kampf, “my struggle.”) Whether the aim is to overthrow monopoly capitalists or to purify a race, revolutionary struggle is always described in terms of good versus evil. It was common for leading Nazis to depict Jews not simply as enemies of the state but as untermenschen (“subhumans”) and, frequently, as insects or lice.8 The repeated use of such degrading characterizations dehumanizes the victims; it is a lot easier to justify the extermination of insects than human beings. Utopia: Foretelling the Future As a promise of the future, ideology tends to paint a radiant picture of perfect justice and perpetual peace. Marxist-Leninists envisioned this utopia as a classless society, one from which all social and economic inequality would be abolished. Similarly, the Nazi utopia was a society from which all racial “impurities” would be removed through the extermination or enslavement of racial “inferiors.” Whatever its precise character, the vision of the future always included a radical redistribution of wealth and property. Marxism-Leninism promised to take from the rich (the bourgeoisie) and give to the poor (the proletariat). Hitler made a similar promise when he proclaimed his intention to provide Lebensraum (“living space”) in the east; he would take land from the land-rich but slothful Slavs and give it to the land-poor but industrious Germans.

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Marxism is based on a deterministic worldview in which the success of the proletarian revolution is dictated by inflexible “laws” of history. Hitler, too, was an unabashed determinist. In Mein Kampf, he wrote, “Man must realize that a fundamental law of necessity reigns throughout the whole realm of Nature.”9 Hitler also frequently ranted about “the iron law of our historical development,” the “march of history,” and the “inner logic of events.” No less than Lenin, Stalin, or Mao, he claimed that he (and the German people or Volk) had a world-shattering mission to accomplish, and that success was inevitable. He expressed this notion in what is perhaps his most famous (or infamous) pronouncement: “I go the way that Providence dictates with the assurance of a sleepwalker.”10

Ideology and Truth The past, present, and future as described by a given

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revolutionary ideology may seem far-fetched or even ludicrous to a disinterested observer. The racial theory put forth by the Nazis utterly lacked historical, sociological, genetic, and moral foundations. By the same token, the economic facet of Hitler’s ideology—the “socialism” in National Socialism—lacked any meaningful content. So watered down was Hitler’s conception of socialism that in the words of one authority, “Anyone genuinely concerned about the people was in Hitler’s eyes a socialist.”11 Why would any sane person embrace such an ideology? First, it appealed to popular prejudices and made them respectable. Second, it was not the message that counted so much as the messenger—the leader’s personal magnetism attracted a following, whether the words made sense or not. Third, certitude was far more important than rectitude. Fourth, ideologues can often get away with absurd allegations and gross falsehoods if they also address real problems faced by ordinary people.

The leader of the October Revolution, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, addressing the masses in Moscow’s Red Square following the overthrow of Czar Nicholas II in 1917 and the Bolshevik takeover. Lenin reinvented Marxism. The kind of revolution Marx envisioned did not fit Russia’s agrarian economy, which lagged far behind Western Europe in the Industrial Revolution. Nontheless, Lenin seized power in the name of the “proletariat” (industrial working class). In one of history’s cruel ironies, the totalitarian state Lenin set in motion denied workers basic rights, including the right to organize or to strike.

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Many Germans recognized the extremist nature of the Nazis’ racial theories but probably believed Hitler would discard such absurdities once the work of unifying the country, reviving the economy, and restoring the nation’s lost honor had been accomplished. By the same token, even if many of Lenin’s followers did not truly believe the workers’ paradise was just around the corner, the Russian peasants did believe in land reform, an end to Russia’s disastrous involvement in World War I, and improvements in nutrition, medical care, and education as promised by Lenin.

Organization Cohesive structure was one of the missing ingredients in pre-twentieth-century rebellions. Most such outbreaks were spontaneous affairs—they burst into flame, occasionally spread, but almost always burned themselves out. The October Revolution, however, was a different story. Lenin founded the Bolshevik Party more than 14 years before seizing power in 1917. Admitting only hard-core adherents into the party, Lenin reasoned the czar could be defeated through a long, clandestine struggle led by a small group of disciplined revolutionaries (a “vanguard”) rather than by a large, amorphous mass of unruly malcontents. To ensure secrecy, discipline, and centralized control, Lenin organized the Bolshevik Party into tiny cells. As the Bolsheviks grew in number and established cells in cities outside Saint Petersburg (see Box 6.1), however, intermediate layers of authority became necessary, although the principles of strict party discipline and total subordination of lower levels to higher ones were not relaxed. Factionalism was not tolerated; party members were still expected to place party interests above personal interests at all times. This spirit of selfsacrifice and total commitment to the party was called partiinost. Unlike its Russian counterpart, the Chinese Revolution was primarily a rural uprising by a mass of discontented peasants. Mao’s most pressing organizational problem was to mold the amorphous peasant mass into an effective military force capable of carrying out a protracted guerrilla war. His success won over many leftists (especially in developing nations), who admired and even imitated Mao’s theory and practice of peasant-based revolution in a poor and benighted rural society. Mao’s long march to power contrasts with Hitler’s quixotic rise in Germany, which started with a violent, abortive coup in the early 1920s and culminated in a kind of constitutional coup d’état in the 1930s. A compliant organization in the form of the Nazi Party was crucial to Hitler’s ultimate success. Hitler made extensive use of brute force to intimidate his opposition, but he also created numerous party-controlled clubs and associations. The Hitler Youth, a Nazi women’s league, a Nazi workers’ organization, a Nazi student league, and various other academic and social organizations gave the Nazis considerable political power even before Hitler took over the reins of government. Later, under an innocuoussounding policy called Gleichschaltung (“coordination”), he destroyed virtually all preexisting social organizations and substituted Nazi associations in their place. Partly for this reason, Hitler’s promises and threats carried great weight

cells Small, tightly knit organizational units at the grassroots level of V. I. Lenin’s Bolshevik party. partiinost The spirit of sacrifice, enthusiasm, and unquestioning devotion required of Communist Party members.

Gleichschaltung Hitler’s technique of using Nazi-controlled associations, clubs, and organizations to coordinate his revolutionary activities.

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BOX 6.1 SPOTLIGHT ON

A Tale of “Two Cities”: How Saint Petersburg Became Leningrad

In fact, the revolution did spread, and it was fomented by Lenin’s Bolsheviks. However, it was not entirely, or even mainly, a proletarian revolution of the kind Marx had imagined. Instead, it included disaffected soldiers and sailors, as well as land-hungry peasants. Russia did not have an extensive industrial labor force in 1917. It was still primarily a peasant society with an agrarian economy. Moreover, the “revolution” in Saint Petersburg was actually led by Leon Trotsky, not Lenin. Nonetheless, Lenin was the mastermind behind the October Revolution. His role in creating a conspiratorial organization, orchestrating events between February and October 1917, and inspiring the masses made him the undisputed leader of the revolutionary Soviet state—so much so that Saint Petersburg was renamed Leningrad three days after Lenin’s death in 1924. The name was changed back to Saint Petersburg in September 1991, shortly before the Soviet Union was formally dissolved.

In October 1917, the Russian capital of Saint Petersburg (also called Petrograd) was in turmoil, due to hardships and popular anger caused by the long years of World War I and bitter capitulation to Germany. The October Revolution was led by Nikolai Lenin and the Bolsheviks, with the backing of the Mensheviks, the Left Socialist revolutionaries, and an assortment of anarchists. There were actually two revolutions in Russia in 1917. The first, the so-called February Revolution, brought about three dramatic results: the ouster of Czar Nicholas II, the end of the Russian monarchy, and the creation of a power vacuum. Following a failed attempt by Aleksandr Kerensky to form a Western-style parliamentary democracy, Lenin masterminded a power seizure in the capital in October. This move had a dual character— half popular uprising and half coup d’état. It also became the central myth of Soviet communism: the notion that what happened in Saint Petersburg in October 1917 was a spontaneous proletarian revolution that spread throughout Russia. GREAT BRITAIN North Sea

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throughout German society. Like all modern revolutionaries, Hitler understood the value of a carefully constructed revolutionary organization.

Propaganda As more people have become engaged in modern political life, propaganda— the dissemination of information based on falsehoods and half-truths designed to advance an ideological cause—has become a potent political weapon.12 To be successful, as Hitler noted, propaganda must address the masses exclusively; hence, “its effect for the most part must be aimed at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect.”13 An avid student of the science of propaganda, Hitler proposed that “all propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those to whom it is addressed.” Hence, “the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be. . . . Effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand.” Given these premises, it follows that the “very first axiom of all propagandist activity [is] the basically subjective and one-sided attitude it must take toward every question it deals with.”14 And the bigger the lie, the better. Hitler theorized that the success of any propaganda campaign depends on the propagandist’s understanding of the “primitive sentiments” of the popular masses. Propaganda cannot have multiple shadings: Concepts and “facts” must be presented to the public as true or false, right or wrong, black or white. In Mein Kampf, Hitler heaped high praise on British propaganda efforts in World War I and expressed contempt for German propaganda, which he faulted for not painting the world in stark black-and-white terms.

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“Man of the Year:” Adolf Hitler on the cover of TIME in 1938. Through the implementation of an immense propaganda campaign in combination with the inculcation of the Nazi ideology, Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) was able to persuade the German people of the need to persecute Jews, the necessity of an eventual war, and the radical transformation of German society.

propaganda The use of mass media to create whatever impression is desired among the general population and to influence thoughts and activities toward desired ends.

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Unlike Hitler, who was a highly effective orator, Lenin was a master pamphleteer and polemicist who relied most heavily on the written word. In the infancy of his movement, Lenin’s chief weapon was the underground newspaper. Endowed with such names as “The Spark” and “Forward,” these propaganda tabloids were printed clandestinely or smuggled into the capital, Saint Petersburg, in false-bottom briefcases.

Violence The fifth and final characteristic of totalitarian revolution is the use of violence and terror as accepted instruments of political policy. According to the Nazi theorist Eugene Hadamovsky, “Propaganda and violence are never contradictions. Use of violence can be part of the propaganda.”15 Assassinations and kidnappings, indiscriminate bombings and sabotage are all part of the totalitarian tool box. Sabotage is designed to disrupt production, transportation, and communications systems; terror is aimed at a greater, pervasive sense of insecurity (see Chapter 15). State terror—violence perpetrated by the government—has played a prominent role in mass movements of both the Right and the Left. The notorious “combat groups” (fasci di combattimento) Italian Fascist Party leader Benito Mussolini formed shortly after World War I provide a striking example. After attempts to woo the working class away from the Socialist Party failed, Mussolini began to cultivate the middle classes and seek financing from wealthy industrialists and big landowners. One of the more novel forms of terror the fascists devised was the punitive expedition, in which armed bands conducted raids against defenseless communities. The local police would often cooperate by looking the other way. Mussolini’s aim was threefold: (1) to create an artificial atmosphere of crisis; (2) to demonstrate that the state was no longer capable of providing lawabiding, taxpaying citizens with protection from unprovoked attacks on their persons and property; and (3) to prod an increasingly fearful, desperate, and fragmented citizenry to turn for refuge and order to the very same political movement that was deliberately exacerbating the problem. The Nazis in Germany used the same sort of tactics. The similarities between this kind of organized violence and plain gangsterism are obvious— the crucial difference has to do with ends rather than means: Gangsters seek to gain control over lucrative (and often illegal) businesses, not to overthrow the government.

THE CONSOLIDATION OF POWER Once the old order has been overthrown or fatally discredited, the totalitarian leadership can operate from a solid power base within the government. The next task it faces is to eliminate any competing political parties and factions.

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The final step in the consolidation process is the elimination of all those within the party who pose a real or potential danger to the totalitarian leader. At this stage, Machiavelli’s advice is especially valuable: “One ought not to say to someone whom one wants to kill, ‘Give me your gun, I want to kill you with it,’ but merely, ‘Give me your gun,’ for once you have the gun in your hand, you can satisfy your desire.”16

Eliminating Opposition Parties Any opposition group, no matter how small or ineffectual, poses a potential danger to the ruler. By the same token, the mere existence of political opponents inhibits the kind of radical change mandated by the movement’s ideology. In dealing with rival political parties, Lenin famously employed salami tactics17—the practice of marginalizing or eliminating opposition by slicing it into pieces and playing one group off against the other. Thus, after the new Constituent Assembly (legislature) was elected, Lenin exploited an already existing division in the dominant Socialist Revolutionary Party by forming an alliance with its left wing. This alliance enabled Lenin to move against the party’s more moderate wing, as well as against other rightist parties. Lenin also repressed Russia’s huge peasant population. The lack of peasant support for the Bolshevik regime became a particularly acute problem during the civil war (1918–1920), when foodstuffs and other basic necessities were extremely scarce. In response, Lenin “instituted in the villages a ‘civil war within a civil war’ by setting poor peasants against those who were less poor,”18 thereby helping to undermine the political opposition. Hitler employed a different strategy. Bolstered by his Nazi Party’s steadily growing popularity in the polls (thanks to a formidable following of true believers), his superb oratorical skills, and a special group of shock troops known as storm troopers, he played a waiting game. Once in office, he gradually expanded his authority, first by gaining passage of new emergency powers and suspending civil liberties. Only then did he move to shut down all opposition parties. Hitler thus used the charade of legality to destroy his opponents politically before using the power of the state to destroy them physically.

Purging Real or Imagined Rivals within the Party Political purges involve removing opponents from the party leadership or from positions of power, or rounding up whole (often fictitious) categories of people (“bourgeois capitalists” or “enemies of the people”) but not necessarily killing them. Arresting people you don’t trust and either imprisoning or exiling them can be just as effective as killing them—and ostensibly more civilized. In carrying out purges, totalitarian governments almost invariably accuse their victims of subversive activity or treason—a convenient rationale for eliminating individuals who are perceived as threats or political liabilities.19 Thus, Hitler turned on Ernst Röhm and other party members who had been instrumental in the

salami tactics The methods used by Vladimir Lenin to divide his opponents into small groups that could be turned against one another and easily overwhelmed.

purges The elimination of all rivals to power through mass arrests, imprisonment, exile, and murder, often directed at former associates and their followers who have (or are imagined to have) enough influence to be a threat to the ruling elite.

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Nazis’ rise to power; on the Führer’s orders, the Röhm faction was murdered in June 1934. Blaming the whole incident on his political enemies, Hitler used the Röhm purge to solidify his popular support and give credence to his fearmongering propaganda. Purges played an even bigger role in the consolidation of power in the Soviet Union. In 1921, thousands of trade unionists and sailors, formerly the backbone of the Bolsheviks’ popular support, were murdered by the secret police when they demanded free trade unions and elections. Next, Lenin purged the so-called Workers’ Opposition faction of his own Bolshevik party, which demanded worker self-management of industry. Lenin pronounced the group guilty of “factionalism” and accused it of endangering both the party and the revolution. The members of the Workers’ Opposition group were expelled from the party but not murdered. Such relatively mild actions were not characteristic of Lenin’s successor, Joseph Stalin, who, as the head of the Soviet Communist Party (1924–1953), did not hesitate to murder those whom he perceived to be his political enemies. How Stalin gathered total power in his hands is a textbook example of cutthroat power politics. He shrewdly adapted Lenin’s salami tactics. However, whereas Lenin set rival parties against each other, Stalin set rivals within his own party— virtually all the great Bolshevik heroes of the October Revolution—against each other. Stalin purged and eventually murdered virtually the entire top party leadership after Lenin’s death in 1924.

Creating a Monolithic Society

Gestapo In Nazi Germany, the secret state police, Hitler’s instrument for spreading mass terror among Jews and political opponents.

The totalitarian state stops at nothing short of total control over the economy, the arts, the military, the schools, the government—every aspect of society. As Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels (1897–1945) remarked, “The revolution we have made is a total revolution. . . . It is completely irrelevant what means it uses.”20 Ironically, the golden society at the end of the utopian rainbow is incompatible with intellectual freedom. Thus, one Nazi official asked this rhetorical question: “If the brains of all university professors were put at one end of the scale and the brains of the Führer at the other, which end, do you think, would tip?”21 Total control requires total loyalty. During the Nazi era, even in small towns, any magistrates and petty officials who had not publicly supported the Nazis were removed from power. Simultaneously, numerous “enemies of the people” were identified and punished by the brutal Gestapo or secret police.22 The effectiveness of these terror tactics helps explain why there was so little overt resistance to the Nazi takeover, but it does not tell the whole story. Cowardice, apathy, and self-interest played important roles as well. A true story told by a German refugee who had been on the faculty of the prestigious University of Frankfurt speaks directly to this point.23 Following the appointment of a Nazi commissar at the university, every professor and graduate assistant was summoned for an important faculty meeting:

The Transformation of Society

The new Nazi commissar . . . immediately announced that Jews would be forbidden to enter university premises and would be dismissed without salary on March 15. . . . Then he launched into a tirade of abuse, filth, and four-letter words such as had been heard rarely even in the barracks and never before in academia. He pointed his finger at one department chairman after another and said, “You either do what I tell you or we’ll put you into a concentration camp.” There was silence when he finished; everybody waited for the distinguished biochemistphysiologist. The great liberal got up, cleared his throat, and said, “Very interesting, Mr. Commissar, and in some respects very illuminating; but one point I didn’t get too clearly. Will there be more money for research in Physiology?” The meeting broke up shortly thereafter with the commissar assuring the scholars that indeed there would be plenty of money for “racially pure science.”24 The English philosopher Edmund Burke is reported to have said, “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” Indeed.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF SOCIETY The transformation stage generally coincides with the regime’s assumption of control over the economy and requires active government planning and intervention.25 In justifying the drive for a new social order, totalitarian regimes typically blame everything that is wrong with the country on counterrevolutionaries, spies, and saboteurs. Carl Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinski, two respected students of this subject, have identified six characteristics shared by all totalitarian governments—an official ideology; a single, hierarchical party; a secret police; a tightly controlled armed forces; a media monopoly; and central control over the economy.26 These characteristics derive from the main features and functions of the revolutionary movement we have discussed (leadership, ideology, organization, propaganda, and violence), now redirected to the state’s day-to-day administration and transformation. The attempted transformation of the state follows a predetermined ideological path, with some concessions to pragmatism where necessary. But practicality is rarely of prime importance for the total tyrant bent on transformation. Examples from the political careers of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao illustrate this point.

The Soviet Union under Stalin In 1928, having defeated his political rivals, Stalin stood poised to launch his drive to collectivize and industrialize the Soviet economy. His first Five-Year Plan for the Soviet economy (1928–1932) marked the beginning of a cataclysm.

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kulaks A class of well-to-do landowners in Russian society that was purged by Joseph Stalin because it resisted his drive to establish huge collective farms under state control.

collectivism The belief that the public good is best served by common (as opposed to individual) ownership of a political community’s means of production and distribution.

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Over the next 10 years, millions of innocent people were killed or sent to labor camps, and a whole class of relatively well-to-do landholders, the kulaks, ceased to exist. In addition, the whole pattern of Soviet agricultural production was radically reshaped. To understand why Stalin would inflict so much suffering on the Soviet farm population, we must first understand the role of ideology in totalitarian systems. Stalin’s first Five-Year Plan, which instituted a highly centralized economic system designed to foster rapid development of the Soviet economy, was motivated by a lust for power. However, Stalin was also committed to creating an advanced industrial society based on collective, rather than capitalist, principles. The way to accomplish this remarkable feat in the shortest possible time, Stalin reasoned, was to invest massively in heavy industry while squeezing every last drop of profit from agriculture, the traditional foundation of the Russian economy. Private ownership of farmland, animals, and implements would have to be eliminated and farming “collectivized.” Under Stalin’s collectivization plan, most agricultural production took place in large cooperative units known as kolkhozy (collective farms), whose members shared whatever income was left after making compulsory deliveries to the state, or in sovkhozy (state farms), whose laborers received wages. Soviet agriculture was collectivized to underwrite Soviet industrialization. Through a massive transfer of resources from farms to cities, Stalin believed industrial production could double or even triple during the period of the first Five-Year Plan. But doing so would necessitate crushing all pockets of rural resistance, herding the peasants into collective farms, and imposing a draconian system of “tax” collections, or compulsory deliveries of scarce food supplies to the state in order to feed the growing army of industrial workers and to pay for imported capital goods. One reason the plan failed was the excessive and indiscriminate brutality Stalin employed. Stories spread through the countryside of how Stalin’s agents had machine-gunned whole villages. Many Russian peasants deliberately burned their crops and killed their cattle rather than cooperate with Stalin’s requisition squads. Despite an all-out national effort, industrial production grew only slightly, if at all. In the meantime, famine depopulated the countryside. Stalin made no apologies and no policy adjustments. Instead, he fabricated statistics, which no one dared question, to “prove” that real progress was being made. In the words of one expert, “The Stalin regime was ruthlessly consistent: All facts that did not agree, or were likely to disagree, with the official fiction— data on crop yields, criminality, true incidences of ‘counterrevolutionary’ activities . . . were treated as nonfacts.”27 In 1934, as the death toll mounted and the first Five-Year Plan came to an unspectacular end, the Soviet dictator declared he had uncovered a far-reaching conspiracy, orchestrated by foreign agents and counterrevolutionaries, to resurrect capitalism in Soviet Russia. This conspiracy theory gained credibility when Sergei Kirov, the dynamic young leader of the Leningrad party organization, was assassinated in December 1934. Harsh reprisals, numerous arrests, phony trials, summary executions, and large-scale deportations followed. Many of the

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victims were loosely identified as members of a fabricated conspiracy called the Leningrad Center. The alleged plot furnished Stalin with the pretext for a purge of Lenin’s original circle of revolutionary leaders, the so-called Old Bolsheviks. During the first phase of the Great Terror (January 1934 to April 1936)— also known as the Great Purge—Communist Party membership fell by nearly 800,000, or approximately 25 percent. The Soviet press denounced these ex-communicants as “wreckers, spies, diversionists, and murderers sheltering behind the party card and disguised as Bolsheviks.”28 The second phase of the Stalin purges (1936–1938) was highlighted by the infamous show trials, in which the Old Bolsheviks, along with many other top-ranking party leaders, were placed on public trial and forced to make outrageous “confessions.” The trials represented only the tip of the iceberg (see Box 6.2). Nor were the rank-and-file workers spared. Throughout the mid- to late 1930s, Stalin collectivized the Soviet labor force by means of forced-draft or conscript labor. Work units were structured and regimented along military lines. This policy gave birth to the so-called gulag archipelago, a network of draconian slave-labor camps maintained and operated by the Soviet secret police where social and political undesirables were forced to live. Through the gulag system, railroads, canals, and dams were constructed in remote and inaccessible areas where workers would not voluntarily go. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the celebrated dissident writer who chronicled life in the labor camps, estimated

© AP PHOTO

One of the most ruthless dictators of the twentieth century, Joseph Stalin (1879–1953) moved away from the Soviet model of an international communist revolution proposed by Marx and Lenin to focus on “socialism in one country.” In pursuit of his aims, Stalin committed mass murders on a grand scale and enslaved millions in a vast system of gulags (forced-labor camps). It’s amazing, even shocking, given what we now know about Stalin that he was named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” in 1942.

gulag archipelago Metaphorical name for the network of slave labor camps established in the former Soviet Union by Joseph Stalin and maintained by his secret police to which nonconformists and politically undesirable persons were sent.

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BOX 6.2

The Great Purge

Between 1934 and 1938, Stalin ordered most of the Soviet political and military elite executed as enemies of the state, including: • 1,100 delegates to the 17th Party Congress (more than half ) • 70 percent of the 139-member Party Central Committee • 3 of 5 Soviet marshals (the highest-ranking generals)

• • • • •

14 of 26 army commanders All 8 admirals 60 of 67 corps commanders Half the 397 brigade commanders All but 5 of the 81 top-ranking political commissars

that they held as many as 12 million prisoners at any given time, perhaps half of them political prisoners. “As some departed beneath the sod,” he noted, “the Machine kept bringing in replacements.”29 At the close of 1938, Stalin stood alone at the top. Industrial development had been spurred, but the Soviet Union was anything but a worker’s paradise. Terror had brought about great political changes, with many luminaries from the pages of Soviet Communist Party history uncovered as traitors and placed on public trial. The list of the accused read like an honor roll of the October Revolution. The military high command had been sacked, the party rank and file cleansed of all political impurities, and the “toiling masses” reduced to a new level of industrial serfdom. Although he ruled until his death in 1953, Stalin (and the legacy of Stalinism) would be identified, above all, with the bloody purges of the 1930s.

Germany under Hitler The overriding theme of National Socialist (Nazi) Party ideology during the Third Reich (1933–1945) was the elimination of the Jews and other “social undesirables” and the ascendency of the “Aryan” race—a fiction that nonetheless obsessed Hitler and his followers. Through Nazi ideology and propaganda, the German people came to accept the persecution of the Jews, the necessity of eventual war, and the radical transformation of society. Every aspect of German life became politicized. Dissident artists, journalists, and academicians were silenced. New state organs, including the Reich chambers for literature, press, broadcasting, theater, music, and fine arts, were created for the primary purpose of censoring or quelling potentially “dangerous” forms of written or artistic expression. In the realm of music, German folk tunes were exalted over “decadent” modern music and classical music written by composers of Jewish lineage, such

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as Felix Mendelssohn and Gustav Mahler. Modern art was likewise condemned, and the works of virtually every well-known contemporary artist were banned. Literature under the Nazi regime fared no better. According to one chronicler of the Third Reich, “Blacklists were compiled ceaselessly and literary histories were revised. . . . The ‘cleansing’ of libraries and bookstores presented some problems, but the destruction and self-destruction of German literature was achieved within a matter of months through the substitution of second- and third-rate scribblers for first-rate writers and by inhibiting contacts with the outside.”30 The Nazi attack on the arts was indicative of the lengths to which Hitler would go to ensure that Nazi values were propagated. But perhaps no part of German life more vividly demonstrated Hitler’s commitment to a new future than the Nazi school system. As Bracher pointed out, “While National Socialism could substitute little more than ideology and second-rate imitators for the literature and art it expelled or destroyed, its main efforts from the very outset were directed toward the most important instruments of totalitarian policy: propaganda and education.”31 Nazi educational policy was implemented in three principal ways. To begin with, educators and school administrators who were suspected of opposing Hitler, Nazism, or Nazi educational “reform” were promptly removed from their positions. Then all academic subjects were infused with ideological content reflecting Hitler’s anti-Semitic racial theories. History became “racial history,” biology was transformed into “racial biology,” and so on. Finally, the Nazis established special schools to train a future party elite, including military leaders, party officials, and government administrators. Students were assigned to these schools according to age group and career orientation. The Adolf Hitler Schools, to cite one example, taught 12- to 18-year-old students who wished to become high party functionaries. In general, all special schools taught certain basic core courses (such as racial history and biology) and emphasized military drill (for example, the training of the infamous Hitler Youth). The Nazi educational program turned out to be all too successful. In the judgment of one authority, “Just as teachers and parents capitulated to the pressures of the regime, so on the whole did the indoctrination of the young succeed. The young, who were receptive to heroic legends and black-and-white oversimplifications, were handed over to the stupendous shows of the regime.”32 Education of the young was reinforced by carefully planned pomp and ceremony: “From earliest childhood, they were exposed to flag raisings, parades, nationwide broadcasts in the schools, hikes, and camps.”33 Indoctrination and propaganda, not terror, became the instruments by which the children of the Third Reich were initiated into the new order. Mass indoctrination combined with a pre-existing anti-Semitism made it possible for Hitler to carry out the murderous racial policies that culminated in the Holocaust. After seizing power, Hitler implemented his anti-Jewish policy in stages, each more radical than the one before.34 First came the attempt to define who precisely was and was not a Jew. Then the regime launched a systematic campaign to isolate Jews from the mainstream of German life and to expropriate their property. Next all Jews who had not fled the country between

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The overriding theme of Nazi Party ideology was the elimination of the Jews and other “social undesirables” and the subsequent creation of a “racially pure” Aryan nation. Between 1933 and 1945, at least six million European Jews plus countless others perished in Nazi death camps.

1933 and 1938 were forcibly removed from German society and sent to the infamous concentration camps. This mass deportation presaged the fourth and final step—genocide. Hitler’s maniacal obsession was ultimately his undoing. Even on the brink of defeat, Hitler continued to divert resources needed to prosecute the war to the Final Solution (the liquidation of the Jews). In the end, some six million European Jews plus countless others, including the mentally ill, physically disabled, Soviet prisoners of war, gay men, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witness members, and Polish intellectuals, as well as many Polish Roman Catholics, were annihilated.

China under Mao

Kuomintang The Chinese Nationalist Party, led by Chiang Kai-shek, defeated by Mao Zedong in 1949.

Mao Zedong’s rise to power in China is an epic example of revolutionary struggle—a true mass movement in a poor, peasant-dominated society. For more than 20 years (1927–1949), Mao waged a bitter “war of national liberation” against the Kuomintang, headed by Chiang Kai-shek, as well as against the Japanese during World War II. In the mid-1930s, Mao was one of the leaders of the legendary Long March, a 6000-mile trek, during which his ragtag band of guerrillas repeatedly evaded capture or annihilation by the numerically superior and better-equipped forces of Chiang’s Nationalist army. By 1949, when Mao finally won the last decisive battle and assumed command of the Chinese nation, Mao had been waging class war in the name of the Chinese masses for more than two decades. Mao prided himself not only on his revolutionary exploits but also on his political thought. In time, the “thoughts of Chairman Mao,” compiled in his pocket-sized little Red Book, of which millions of copies were printed and mass

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distributed, attained the status of holy scripture in Chinese society. His vision of a new, classless state and of the exemplary communist cadres and comrades who would typify this morally reeducated society inspired the radical policies that have become known collectively as Maoism. Although Mao’s worldview was undoubtedly shaped by the basic tenets of Marxism, 1920s China was a preindustrial society without a true proletarian (industrial-worker) class or a “monopoly capitalist” class of the kind Marx had described in Das Kapital. The bane of China’s peasant masses was not factory bosses but greedy landlords and bureaucratic officials preoccupied with the preservation of the status quo and of their own power and privilege. If the oppressed majority were to be liberated, those in power would have to be overthrown. To accomplish such a historic mission, Mao believed, violent revolution “from below” was an unavoidable necessity. “Political power,” he wrote, “grows out of the barrel of a gun.”35 As part of his adaptation of Marxism, Mao glorified the Chinese peasants— whom he described as “poor and blank”—as models of communist virtue because they had never been corrupted by “bourgeois materialism” and big-city decadence. Mao thus made the peasantry (not the proletariat) the cornerstone of his visionary utopian society. Once in power, Mao turned China into a kind of social laboratory. The first step included campaigns to eradicate specific evils such as individualism and bourgeois materialism by “reeducating” the masses or exterminating undesirable social elements (landlords, counterrevolutionaries, and “bandits”). Accompanying mass reeducation was a sweeping land reform program culminating in the wholesale collectivization of Chinese agriculture. This bitter pill was administered with massive doses of propaganda, as well as brute force. In the early 1950s, a major push to industrialize China along Stalinist lines was also launched. Alternating periods of freedom and repression marked Mao’s rule. In 1956, for example, he announced the beginning of the Hundred Flowers campaign, which promised a relaxation of strict social discipline. As a high-ranking party official put it at the time, “The Chinese Communist party advocates [that] one hundred flowers bloom for literary works and one hundred schools contend in the scientific field . . . to promote the freedom of independent thinking, freedom of debate, freedom of creation and criticism, freedom of expressing one’s own opinions.”36 What followed probably caught Mao by surprise. Public protests and anti-party demonstrations occurred at Beijing University and other campuses. Strikes and scattered riots, even isolated physical attacks on party officials, occurred in various parts of the country. Instead of a hundred flowers, thousands of “poisonous weeds” had grown in the Chinese garden. The incipient rebellion was rapidly suppressed in a brutal “anti-rightist” crackdown. The official party newspaper, People’s Daily, announced the whole Hundred Flowers campaign had been a ploy to lure the enemies of the state into the open. In retrospect, the Hundred Flowers episode was a mere warm-up for Mao’s Great Leap Forward (1957–1960)—a spectacular but ill-conceived attempt to catapult China onto the stage of “full communism” by means of mass mobilization. Mao set out to prove that anything is possible, and that subjective

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Hundred Flowers campaign A brief period in China (1956) when Mao Zedong directed that freedom of expression and individualism be allowed; it was quashed when violent criticism of the regime erupted. Great Leap Forward Mao Zedong’s attempt, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, to transform and modernize China’s economic structure through mass mobilization of the entire population into self-sufficient communes in which everything was done in groups.

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© MAGNUM PHOTOS NEW YORK

Following his successful war of national liberation against Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang, Mao’s rule between 1949 and 1976 was characterized by periods of vast social experimentation as well as by violent periods of political repression.

factors like human will can triumph over objective conditions such as poverty, illiteracy, and external dependency. Put differently, the idea “was to take advantage of China’s rural backwardness and manpower surplus by realizing the Maoist faith that ideological incentives could get economic results, that a new spirit could unlock hitherto untapped sources of human energy without the use of material incentives.”37 Thus did Mao’s brand of “Marxism” stand Marx on his head. The most visible and dramatic symbol of the Great Leap was the establishment of communes—relatively large and self-sufficient residential, social, economic, and political-administrative units. Private plots were absorbed into the communal lands, and private belongings, including pots and pans and other domestic items, were pooled. In addition, as Fairbank noted, Many peasants for a time ate in large mess halls. All labor was to be controlled. Everyone was to work twenty-eight days of the month, while children went into day nurseries. This would bring large-scale efficiency to the village and get all its labor, including its womanpower, into full employment.38 Why were the unprecedented measures associated with Mao’s grandiose concept instituted? According to China scholar John King Fairbank, “The result, it was hoped, would be agricultural cities with the peasants proletarianized and uprooted from their own land”—with an overall view toward giving the state increased control over labor resources and changing the peasants’ attitudes.39

The Human Cost of Totalitarianism

The Great Leap Forward was a colossal failure with disastrous consequences for the Chinese people, including severe crop failures and food shortages. But Mao was undeterred. After a brief period of retrenchment, he launched a second “revolution from above.” From 1966 to 1969, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution shook Chinese society to its very foundations. In the first stage, designed to wash away all that was “decadent” in Chinese life, Mao closed all schools and urged his youthful followers, called the Red Guards, to storm the bastions of entrenched privilege and bureaucratic authority. Millions of Maoist youths obligingly went on a rampage throughout the country for many weeks. This phase of the revolution accomplished its intended purpose, as the Red Guards “smashed most of the Republic’s bureaucratic institutions” and “invalidated [the government’s] authority and expertise.”40 Officials were dragged out and put on public display to be ridiculed and humiliated, accompanied by purges and summary executions; temples and historical treasures lay in ruins, as did the party, government, and armed forces. The second stage of the Cultural Revolution called for positive action to replace the previous order with a new and better one. Unfortunately, the economy and society, especially in urban areas, had been severely disrupted. Factories and schools, shut down by marauding Red Guards, did not reopen for months or even years. The ultimate cost of the Cultural Revolution is incalculable. One fact, however, is clear: Mao’s unrelenting efforts to prove that human nature is infinitely malleable—and society, therefore, infinitely perfectible—foundered on the rocky shores of political reality, not to mention the folly of eliminating a whole generation of educated citizens. His death in 1976 closed a unique chapter in the political history of the modern world.

THE HUMAN COST OF TOTALITARIANISM Totalitarian regimes present a stark contrast between ends and means—diabolical deeds in pursuit of utopian dreams. The death camps of Nazi Germany and the labor camps of Stalinist Russia stand as the essence of twentieth-century totalitarianism. By one estimate, about 110 million people have died in the name of the three revolutions—in Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, and Maoist China—featured in this chapter.41 The number defies imagination; but these estimates, which include World War II casualties, are quite plausible and may actually be low.42 Warrelated deaths in the European theater during World War II numbered “about six million for Germany and Austria, 20 million for the Soviet Union, and about 10 million for all other European countries, for a total of about 36 million.”43 Hitler’s Final Solution was estimated to have resulted in the deaths of an estimated five to six million European Jews, not to mention an indeterminate number of non-Jews whom Hitler considered “social undesirables.” All in all, perhaps 42 million people died directly or indirectly as a result of Hitler’s policies.

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Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution A chaotic period beginning in 1966, when the youth of China (the Red Guards), at Mao Zedong’s direction, attacked all bureaucratic and military officials on the pretext that a reemergence of capitalist and materialist tendencies was taking place. The offending officials were sent to forced labor camps to be ‘‘reeducated.’’

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The Russian Revolution of 1917 and its aftermath were hardly less costly in terms of human life. Between 1918 and 1923, approximately 3 million Soviet citizens died of typhus, typhoid, dysentery, and cholera, and about 9 million more disappeared, probably victims of the terrible famine that scourged the country in the early 1920s. Many perished in a severe drought in 1920–1921, but others died of direct or indirect political causes. In the late 1920s, during Stalin’s titanic industrialization drive, the kulaks were annihilated as a class. In addition, another killer famine—at least partially self-inflicted—occurred in the early 1930s. When deaths associated with the early stages of collectivization are combined with deaths brought on by famine, the mortality figures range in the millions for the period from 1929 to 1934. But the worst was yet to come. After 1934, Stalin’s purges directly claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and led to the premature deaths of some two million “class enemies” in Siberian forced-labor camps. Nor did the end of the great purges in 1938 stop the political hemorrhaging that, together with World War II, drained Soviet society of so much of its vitality. Millions of labor camp inmates died between 1938 and 1950 due to the inhumane treatment and harsh conditions they had to endure on a daily basis. The human cost of the revolution in Maoist China exceeds that of Stalinist Russia. Between the time of the communist takeover in 1949 and the Great Leap Forward in 1957, several mass campaigns were launched to combat allegedly counterrevolutionary forces. After the Chinese Communist takeover, the land reform program cost the lives of several million “landlords” and rich peasants between 1949 and 1952. Other campaigns against counterrevolutionaries in the early 1950s cost another million and a half lives. Periodic anti-rightist campaigns and collectivization of agriculture after 1953 also took a toll.44 According to scholar C. W. Cassinelli, Accurate information is not available—and often even informed guesses are lacking—on the cost of the first decade [emphasis supplied] of the People’s Republic. An estimate of twelve million lives is modest but reasonable.45 These figures do not include deaths caused by hardship and privation, most notably those traceable to the dislocations that accompanied the Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s. The Cultural Revolution (1966–1969) was another bloody episode in Chinese history, although firm estimates of the number of casualties are impossible to make. A much heavier toll was probably taken by the Chinese gulag system. As many as 15 million may have perished as a direct result of inhumanly harsh labor camp conditions. When Cassinelli tallied the total number of politically related deaths, including “another million from miscellaneous causes,” he arrived at the astonishing figure of “about 33.5 million.”46 Though unverifiable, this number is consistent with the available evidence. The mere fact that it is not implausible speaks volumes. Totalitarian regimes typically refuse to concede that any goal, no matter how visionary or perverse, is beyond political reach. The compulsion to validate this gross misconception may help explain the pathological violence that marks totalitarian rule.

Other Faces of Totalitarianism

OTHER FACES OF TOTALITARIANISM In addition to Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, and Mao’s China, other totalitarian states deserve mention and study. Although these lesser totalitarian states have mostly disappeared or mellowed, the abuses they perpetrated in every case left deep scars in their nation’s history, as well as a bitter legacy. Pol Pot governed Cambodia (renamed Kampuchea) from 1975 to 1979.47 He and his followers sought to create a radically new society, based on the rustic and Spartan life of peasant cadres. All vestiges of the old order—everything from the calendar to the family—were eradicated. Pol Pot proclaimed 1978 “Year Zero,” which turned out to be grotesquely appropriate, for at the end of his brief rule, some 2 million Cambodians (of a population of 7.5 million) would be dead—the victims of purges, starvation, or persecution. Another example of totalitarian rulers is Ethiopia’s Colonel Mengistu, who ruled from the mid-1970s until 1991.48 Mengistu attempted to reorganize the nation by physically relocating its people into regimented population and refugee centers for the purposes of permitting intensive governmental surveillance as well as encouraging systematic propaganda and indoctrination. His efforts destroyed the nation’s agriculture, and a killer famine resulted. Although the West made efforts to feed the starving children of Ethiopia, their government appeared curiously detached. While his people went hungry, Mengistu staged lavish military parades, sold wheat to neighboring nations, and used the money he received to buy weapons. In May 1991, with his regime under siege by a coalition of rebel forces, Mengistu fled the country. North Korea is the last Soviet-style totalitarian state still in existence. Kim Il Sung ruled over the so-called Hermit Kingdom until his death in July 1994. Today his son, Kim Jong Il, rules in the same autocratic fashion. North Korea is widely known as the Hermit Kingdom because of its largely self-imposed isolation from the outside world. The country’s leader, Kim Jong Il, heads one of the most rigidly autocratic regimes in the contemporary world. His claim to rule is hereditary—Kim’s dead father, Kim Il Sung, the founder of the Kim family dynasty, established a totalitarian dictatorship after World War II. Kim Jong Il rules North Korea the same way his father did—by perpetuating a personality cult similar to those once perpetrated in Russia by Joseph Stalin or in China by Mao Zedong. In a bizarre twist, when his father died, Kim Jong Il made him president for eternity. North Korean propagandists ascribe to Kim (the son) the authorship of 1,000 books while he was a college student. North Korea maintains a huge army, entrenched along the 38th parallel that divides Korea, and poses a standing threat to South Korea, a close ally of the United States since the Korean War (1950–1953). That major war was started when northern Korea invaded the south, a fact that continues to shape Western perceptions of North Korea today. The war ended in a draw and without a peace treaty. In stark contrast to the prosperous south, North Korea remains one of the poorest countries on earth. Malnutrition and even starvation threaten the population—children in North Korea are, on average, considerably shorter and

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weigh less than children of the same age in South Korea. North Koreans are not allowed to have contact with South Koreans, including family members. After 9/11, President Bush declared North Korea to be part of an “axis of evil” along with Iraq and Iran. North Korea again found itself in the international spotlight when Kim Jong Il defied the Bush administration’s demand for a “complete, verifiable, and irreversible” halt to its nuclear weapons program. U.S. relations with North Korea did not greatly improve in the ensuing years. A pre-occupation with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a deepening recession in the wake of the U.S. financial crisis in 2008–2009, led President Obama, like his predecessor, to seek an accommodation with Pyongyang (the capital). North Korea conducted a nuclear test in 2006 and in April 2009 attempted to launch a long-range missile, but the test failed. North Korea is also thought to have stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. Although its extreme self-isolation and secrecy ensure nobody knows for certain what is going on inside North Korea today, if the Hermit Kingdom does have a nuclear gun, there is no doubt whose finger is on the trigger. Khomeini’s Iran displayed most of the elements normally associated with totalitarian rule: an attempt to transform society; a dictatorship that demanded abject loyalty, obedience, and self-sacrifice; an all-encompassing creed that rationalized, explained, and justified state actions; press censorship; and secret police, show trials, summary executions, and holy wars. Eventually, no aspect of life in Iran lay outside governmental control. Teachers, textbooks, education, entertainment, the legal system, even courtship and sexual mores were made to conform to fundamental Islamic beliefs. The regime declared war on civil servants, intellectuals, professional and entrepreneurial elements of the middle class, and all others who had endorsed modern Western ways and culture. After Khomeini’s death, his successors relaxed some of the strict moral and social controls but maintained a rigidly theocratic police state fiercely opposed to the West and, in particular, to the U.S. presence in neighboring Iraq and the Persian Gulf. In addition, Tehran launched a major nuclear research and development program, raising a general alarm in the international community and causing the United States to orchestrate a global campaign to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons. When President Obama assumed office he lost little time in attempting to break the diplomatic impasse with Iran. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama had roundly criticized President Bush for refusing to engage in direct talks with Tehran. In early 2009, the new administration expressed a willingness to meet with Iran “without preconditions,” and on April 16, 2009, Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared in a televised speech, “We have prepared a package that can be the basis to resolve Iran’s nuclear problem. It will be offered to the West soon.”49 The Iranian case demonstrates three important points. First, totalitarian regimes, like democracies and traditional dictatorships, can share a single essence and assume many different guises. Second, although totalitarian regimes appear to be rigid and unchanging on the outside, they are, in fact, not impervious to

The Short Lives of the Worst Regimes

change on the inside. Third, in the modern world of the twenty-first century, totalitarian regimes cannot succeed economically in isolation—that is, without access to global markets, the latest technological advances, and sources of investment capital. Ironically, as totalitarianism disappeared in Russia and Eastern Europe, it sprang up in Afghanistan—a country the Soviet Union had invaded in 1979. It is generally accepted that the protracted and costly conflict in Afghanistan hastened the demise of the totalitarian Soviet state. It turned out to be Moscow’s Vietnam, but with more dire consequences. In the 1990s, totalitarianism in a different guise arose from the ashes of the war that had ravaged Afghanistan during the previous decade. That regime— the Taliban—captured the world’s attention after September 2001 because the mastermind behind the 9/11 operation, the actual perpetrators, and the organization that carried it out were all based in Afghanistan. The Taliban was providing sanctuary for Osama bin Laden, who had set up training camps for his stateless “army.” But the Taliban was not only harboring a terrorist organization; it was itself a terrorist organization—a full-blown totalitarian regime complete with a single all-powerful ruling clique, harsh and arbitrary laws, kangaroo courts, predictable (guilty) verdicts, summary executions turned into public spectacles, severely restricted personal freedoms, closed borders, and a captive population. Afghans were not allowed to emigrate or travel abroad. Girls were not allowed to go to school. Boys were not allowed to fly kites. Women had no rights, had to be completely covered in public, and could not work outside the home. Wife beating, no matter how severe, was not a crime—not even when the victim died.

THE SHORT LIVES OF THE WORST REGIMES Hitler boasted that his would be a thousand-year empire, but it lasted less than a decade. In fact, in stark contrast to the great autocratic empires of ancient history, totalitarian regimes are short-lived. They tend to burst on the scene like a meteor and burn out. Why? Fatal wars with other nations, such as Hitler’s defeat by the Allies in World War II, can bring a sudden end to totalitarian states. The death of a particularly charismatic or successful ruler—Mao or Stalin, for instance—can precipitate an extended downward spiral. Drab, indistinguishable successors who rule by coercion and terror rather than by consent may undermine the economic efficiency, moral vitality, and political idealism on which legitimate political power ultimately rests. Thus, the collapse of the Soviet Union was preceded by both a prolonged period of economic disintegration and a widespread loss of faith in the regime and its political ideals; a period of “totalitarianism in decline.”50 Today, the Peoples’ Republic of China is “Communist” in name only. In fact, it has metamorphosed into a one-party authoritarian system with a transitional capitalist economy that by its very nature sets limits on the exercise

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theocracy A government based on religion and dominated by the clergy.

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of state power. Iran after Khomeini remains a theocracy with limited personal freedoms but it cannot in fairness be called totalitarian. North Korea alone still qualifies as unambiguously totalitarian. The totalitarian regimes in Kampuchea and Ethiopia are long gone—only their cruel legacies remain. But unfortunately, totalitarian dictatorships need only a little time to do incalculable damage.

GATEWAYS TO THE WORLD: EXPLORING CYBERSPACE www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/index.htm This site offers a 24-chapter history on the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, as well as biographies of Adolf Eichmann, Rudolf Hess, and Reinhard Heydrich; also a photo-rich timeline of the Holocaust. www.thecorner.org/hist/total/total.htm Focuses on the history of totalitarianism in Europe during the turbulent interwar period (1919–1939). www.kirjasto.sci.fi/mao.htm Succinct political biography of Mao Zedong as well as a number of useful links. www.marxists.org/subject Marxist Internet Archive; as the name suggests, it is a treasure trove of information on Marxism and Marxists. www.yale.edu/cgp/ Yale University’s Website for the Cambodia Genocide Program; contains a variety of links to resources of great value to students and scholars wishing to learn more about this tragedy, the murderous fanatics who carried it out, and the totalitarian impulse behind it.

SUMMARY Totalitarian states attempt to realize a utopian vision and create a new political order. Like authoritarian states, totalitarian states are nondemocratic. Yet these two regime types differ in several important respects. In particular, totalitarian regimes seek total control over all aspects of their citizens’ lives and demand active participation, rather than passive acquiescence, on the part of the citizenry.

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The three major totalitarian states of the past century—Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and Maoist China—appear to have gone through several distinct stages of development. The first stage coincides with a period of violent revolution. The five major elements necessary for a successful revolution are charismatic leadership, ideology, organization, propaganda, and violence. During the second stage, power in the hands of the totalitarian ruler is consolidated, opposition parties are eliminated, the party faithful are put in charge, and real or imagined rivals within the party are killed. The third stage attempts to bring about the total transformation of society. In the Soviet Union, Stalin launched this effort in 1928 with the first Five-Year Plan. In Nazi Germany, Hitler’s goal of “racial purification” provided the rationale for a totalitarian drive that culminated in World War II and the Holocaust. In Maoist China, the first attempt to transform Chinese society, the Great Leap Forward, failed miserably in the late 1950s and was followed by the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. The human costs of totalitarianism have been staggering. Actual numbers cannot be verified, but even the roughest estimates suggest the totalitarian experiments of the twentieth century brought death or appalling hardship to many millions of people. Totalitarian states appear in many guises, and there is no guarantee new ones will not emerge in the future. Indeed, the ousted Taliban regime in Afghanistan qualified as a new form of totalitarianism that used a perverted form of Islam as a political ideology.

KEY TERMS totalitarianism rectification cells partiinost Gleichschaltung propaganda salami tactics

Kuomintang purges Gestapo kulaks collectivization gulag archipelago

Hundred Flowers campaign Great Leap Forward Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution theocracy

REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

What sets totalitarianism apart from other nondemocratic forms of rule? What is required for a successful total revolution to take place? How do totalitarian states consolidate power? What are the basic characteristics of the totalitarian system of rule? What were the primary aims of Stalin’s drive to transform Soviet society in the 1930s? What methods did he use?

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6. How and why did Hitler try to reshape German society? 7. What was the impetus behind the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution? What methods did the Maoists employ? What kind of a society did they envisage? 8. What have been the costs of totalitarianism, as measured in human terms? 9. “Totalitarianism passed away with the deaths of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.” Comment. 10. Name two or three recent examples of totalitarianism. Which one(s) are still in existence? Write a short essay on an existing totalitarian state, answering the following three questions. Who rules? How? To what ends? 11. Hitler’s totalitarian state ceased to exist after a crushing military defeat. Does the evidence suggest that totalitarian regimes can ever change from within—that is, without being defeated in war—or not? Comment. 12. “As the world’s oldest democracy, the United States government should never engage in direct talks with totalitarian states.” Do you agree or disagree? Explain your position.

RECOMMENDED READING Alpers, Benjamin J. Dictators, Democracy, and American Political Culture: Envisioning the Totalitarian Enemy, 1920s–1950s. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003. A look at how totalitarianism was portrayed in U.S. books, movies, the news media, academia, and the political arena when it posed the greatest threat to Western-style democracy. Arendt, Hannah. Totalitarianism. San Diego: Harcourt, 1968. A theoretical analysis of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia that spotlights totalitarian states’ emphasis on terror, persecution, and mass murder. Bracher, Karl Dietrich. The German Dictatorship. New York: Holt, 1972. A definitive study of Hitler’s totalitarian state. Browning, Christopher. Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. New York: HarperCollins, 1992. This study of a civilian Nazi police force engaged in mass murder argues that human beings commit the most evil acts imaginable when faced with tremendous social pressure to conform. Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin, Parallel Lives. New York: Knopf, 1992. A comprehensive and definitive account of the lives and character of these two tyrants. Cassinelli, C. W. Total Revolution: A Comparative Study of Germany under Hitler, the Soviet Union under Stalin, and China under Mao. Santa Barbara, CA: Clio Books, 1976. The writer argues that these regimes are fundamentally similar. Chirot, Daniel. Modern Tyrants: The Power and Prevalence of Evil in Our Age. New York: Free Press, 1994. Hitler and Stalin are presented as the prototype of a new kind of ideological tyrant, who seeks to mold society according to specific “scientific” theories about how society should be constructed. Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror: A Reassessment. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. A detailed, carefully researched book that provides the definitive scholarly account of Stalin’s bloodiest days. ———. The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. A chilling account of Stalin’s war against the kulaks and the Ukrainians.

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Friedrich, Carl, and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy. New York: Praeger, 1965. A pioneering effort that attempts to classify and describe totalitarian states. Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. New York: Harper & Row, 1951. A perceptive examination of individuals who form the nucleus of mass movements. Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead Books, 2003. A gripping novel of growing up in Afghanistan with the unmistakable ring of authenticity. As good an introduction to the cruel and austere world of the Taliban as you will find anywhere. The movie is good; the book is better. Kiernam, Ben. The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975–79. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996. This detailed examination of one of the darkest periods of human history makes the controversial argument that race, and not ideology, motivated the Cambodian genocide. Koestler, Arthur. Darkness at Noon. New York: Bantam Books, 1984 (First publication, 1940). A classic work of fiction about a totalitarian system in which a Bolshevik loyalist and true believer is put on trial for treason, while his all-powerful tormentor, identified only as Number One, remains anonymous and without mercy. Menand, Louis. “The Devil’s Disciples,” The New Yorker, July 28, 2003. Accessed at on January 15, 2007. An excellent review of old and new books on totalitarianism that begins with this tantalizing observation: “Few puzzles in political philosophy are more daunting than the Problem of the Loyal Henchmen.” Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. New York: Knopf, 1992. The classic fictional caricature of Stalinist Russia that is full of insights regarding the nature of totalitarian societies. Ponchaud, François. Cambodia: Year Zero. New York: Holt, 1978. A chilling historical account of Pol Pot’s rule in Kampuchea. Shapiro, Leonard. Totalitarianism. New York: Praeger, 1972. An evenhanded and informative discussion of the scholarly controversy that surrounds the concept of totalitarianism. Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, translated by H. T. Willetts. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992. A description of the Soviet labor camps that became a cause célèbre in the Soviet Union during Nikita Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization program. Stewart, Rory. The Places in Between. Orlando: Harcourt, Inc., 2004. The true account of a young Scotsman’s solitary walk across Afghanistan from Herat to Kabul in the winter of 2002, surviving on tribal hospitality and sharing meals with villagers, soldiers, Taliban commanders, and foreign-aid workers. Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Bantam Books, 1982. A poignant autobiographical account of the suffering of the victims of totalitarian rule—in this case, the Jews under Hitler.

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Queen’s Guard at Windsor Castle—Tradition remains a powerful force in British politics.

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Parliamentary Democracy Great Britain: Mother of all Parliaments A Mixed Regime Fusion of Powers Indefinite Terms of Office Disciplined Parties Are Two Heads Better Than One? A Model with Legs France: President Versus Parliament The Fifth Republic: A Hybrid System The Executive Reduced Role of the National Assembly Rival Parties and Seesaw Elections Constitution under Pressure: Testing the Balance Justice à la Française The Balance Sheet Germany: Federalism Against Militarism The Weimar Republic Divided Germany: The Cold War in Microcosm The Great Merger: Democracy Triumphant German Federalism The Executive

The Legislature Political Parties The Judiciary The Basic Law and Civil Liberties Does Democracy in Germany Work? Japan: Between East and West Historical Background The 1947 Constitution Parliament Above Emperor The Party System Patron–Client Politics The Judiciary and Japanese Culture Does Democracy in Japan Work? India and Israel: Challenged Democracies Amazing India: A Parliamentary Miracle Israel: A War Republic The Adaptability of Democracy Presidents Versus Parliaments: A Brief Comparison The Legislature The Executive The Judiciary Strengths and Weaknesses of the Two Systems Constitutions and Contexts

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We have not only to study the ideally best constitution. We have also to study the type of constitution which is practicable [that is, the best for a state under actual conditions]—and with it, and equally, the type which is easiest to work and most suitable to stages generally. . . . The sort of constitutional system which ought to be proposed is one which men can be easily induced, and will be readily able, to graft onto the system they already have. Aristotle, The Politics1

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he British system has its origins in horticulture, not architecture—that is, rather than resulting from a blueprint devised by rational minds, like the U.S. Constitution, it simply grew from the fertile soil of British political life. The organic nature of the British parliamentary system raises an obvious question about whether it can be transplanted, but first we take a closer look at this unique representative democracy.

GREAT BRITAIN: MOTHER OF ALL PARLIAMENTS The political system that formed after the American Revolution represented a sharp break with the European autocratic tradition, and it required a fresh political theory. Although there is no British counterpart to The Federalist Papers, we find a sort of homegrown theory of British-style democracy in the writings and speeches of Edmund Burke. Burke detailed Britain’s long unbroken

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The United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II is a beloved monarch who reigns but does not rule. As the ceremonial chief of state, she has served a nation proud of its traditions with dignity and grace since 1952.

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parliamentary system A system of democratic government in which authority is concentrated in the legislative branch, which selects a prime minister and cabinet officers who serve as long as they have majority support in the parliament. mixed regime A nation in which the various branches of government represent social classes.

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chain of political development, during which, significantly, economic equality and political liberty expanded together. As the monarchy declined in power, British government became increasingly democratic, evolving into a parliamentary system. It was gradually established that the British monarch would automatically accept Parliament’s choice of prime minister (PM). In time, the PM eclipsed the monarch as the head of government. Today, the monarch Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state with no executive power—a beloved figurehead.

A Mixed Regime From the seventeenth century on, the British parliamentary system became a prime example of what Aristotle called a mixed regime, in which different institutions represent different classes. The House of Lords represented the interests of the traditional governing classes, whereas the House of Commons gradually came to represent the interests of the general electorate, expressed through free elections and increasing suffrage. Great Britain’s mixed regime historically promoted stability by providing representation for classes that otherwise might have become openly hostile toward one another. Today, what we call the British welfare state has evolved into an elaborate system of income redistribution designed to perpetuate a large middle class. The traditional representation of separate social classes has become largely irrelevant, although the image of the two major parties—the Conservative Party (or Tories) and the Labour Party—continues to reflect the class consciousness that has always been present in British politics. The marginalization of the Peerage (nobility) is mirrored in the historical ascendancy of the popularly elected House of Commons over the aristocratic House of Lords. The House of Lords comprises about 1,100 people holding aristocratic titles (gained, in most cases, through inheritance), but only about 300 are eligible to actively participate.2 The Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 made it impossible for the House of Lords to kill legislation passed by Commons; according to these acts, the Lords can do no more than delay a bill from taking effect for 1 year.

Fusion of Powers Under the British parliamentary system, the executive branch—the prime minister and the cabinet—is formed after each election and consists of the leaders of the victorious party within the House of Commons, endorsed by the Parliament and appointed by the queen. Although all members of Parliament, including those in the opposition party, are free to question and criticize, the government is assured of getting its legislative program passed, because in the British system, there is always a clear majority for reasons peculiar to the “first-past-the-post electoral system” explained later in this chapter. Most parliamentary systems function in much the same manner as the British system, but in countries with multiple parties and proportional

Great Britain: Mother of all Parliaments

representation (see Chapter 11), the government often cannot count on a clear parliamentary majority. Where there are five or six parties in parliament—and none with a popular base to match either of Britain’s two major parties—it often happens that no single party has enough seats to form a government. In this event, coalitions, or two or more parties joining forces, are necessary. Sometimes coalition governments work fairly well; in the worst cases such as Italy, however, parliamentary rule can be unstable and even chaotic.

Indefinite Terms of Office When a victorious party leader takes over in the United Kingdom, it is understood the new government will serve for no more than 5 years before seeking a new mandate from the voters. A British PM’s job security entirely depends on his or her ability to maintain “confidence”—an elusive but vital intangible in British politics. Here, too, the British and U.S. systems differ significantly. U.S. elections are held at regular intervals that never change; voters always know exactly when the next election will be held. Not so in the British system. Parliament is required to stand for election every 5 years, but the prime minister can call for elections earlier if it looks as though the mood of the electorate momentarily favors the ruling party. By the same token, Parliament can force the government to resign by a vote of “no confidence.” In this event, either a new government is formed under new leadership or the queen dissolves Parliament and calls new elections. The authority to decide when to call new elections can be a big advantage for the party in power. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made particularly shrewd use of this authority in 1983, for example. After serving only 4 years, the “Iron Lady” (as she was often called) capitalized on a surge of British patriotism, spurred by a war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, to renew the Conservative Party’s mandate to rule for another 5 years. In 1987, she again called for an election 4 years into her term and won. But 3 years later, Thatcher’s popularity fell as a result of her support for a poll tax that many Britons considered regressive and unfair. Under intense attack within her Conservative Party, she resigned as party leader and prime minister, turning over the reins of government to her successor, John Major. Thatcher had served continuously for more than a decade—a twentieth-century record. More recently, Prime Minister Tony Blair was forced to resign due to his unstinting support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq—a war strongly opposed by the vast majority of British voters. In the summer of 2007, Blair gave way to his chief rival in the Labour Party, Gordon Brown. The resignation of a British head of government is neither surprising nor unprecedented. Rather, when a leader has lost public confidence it is expected. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (1869–1940) resigned in 1940, despite the fact that his party still commanded a majority in the House of Commons. So widespread was his unpopularity after his “appeasement” of Adolf Hitler at Munich that he

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FIGURE 7.1 Map of UK showing the 2005 election results by region. The Labour Party kept its majority in the House of Commons but lost 47 seats while the main opposition Conservative party gained 33 seats. Both main parties could (and did) claim victory.

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no-confidence vote In parliamentary governments, a legislative vote that the sitting government must win to remain in power.

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stepped aside and let another prominent Tory leader—Winston Churchill— take charge. Churchill, of course, proved to be one of history’s great wartime leaders. Other circumstances may cause a government to fall before its 5-year term has expired. If the majority party’s policy is unpopular or if the government becomes embroiled in a scandal, a motion of no confidence can be introduced. If the motion passes in a no-confidence vote, the government resigns. The prime minister then asks the monarch to dissolve parliament and call for new elections. In countries with multiparty parliamentary systems, governments come

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Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair in 2007. As a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Brown is an expert on public finance and economics. He needed to draw on all his knowledge and experience to stabilize the British economy in the global recession of 2008–2009.

and go frequently in this manner, but it is rare in the United Kingdom, where it has not happened since Prime Minister James Callaghan lost a no-confidence motion in 1979.

Disciplined Parties Party discipline in the United Kingdom manifests itself in a ritual show of public unity, coherent party platforms, and bloc voting. British parties differ sharply in this respect from U.S. parties, which are more loosely organized and often less important to voters than are the personal traits of the candidates. In Parliament, the government demands unwavering support from its majority-party members. Strong party discipline does not mean that MPs never cross the aisle to vote with the opposition, however. They can also abstain on an important vote or even engineer a major party realignment. In the early 1900s, for example, when the trade union movement transformed the British working class into a powerful political force, the Labour Party eclipsed the old Liberal (or Whig) Party as the Conservative (or Tory) Party’s chief rival. The party-out-of-power—formally called Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition— criticizes the majority’s policy initiatives and holds the government accountable for its actions. Criticism is usually tempered by civility, because the Opposition “thinks of itself as the next government, and a wise Opposition operates within those limits which it hopes its own opponents will respect when the tables are turned.”3 As one expert observer pointed out, Organized opposition is not now considered subversive or treasonable. Indeed, since 1937, the Leader of the Opposition has been paid a special salary out of public funds, and people often talk about “Her Majesty’s Opposition,” because the existence of an Opposition is thought to be an essential part of the Queen’s government.4

party discipline In a parliamentary system, the tendency of legislators to vote consistently as a bloc with fellow party members in support of the party’s platform.

Loyal Opposition The belief, which originated in England, that the out-of-power party has a responsibility to formulate alternative policies and programs; such a party is sometimes called the Loyal Opposition.

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Are Two Heads Better Than One? Unlike the United States, where one chief executive (the president) serves as both the head of state and the head of government, Great Britain separates these functions. The British head of state is the reigning monarch. Queen Elizabeth II,

The British Agenda: A Sampler

The Economy Under Labour leadership, Britain developed a model welfare state in the 1950s and 1960s but was stricken by stagflation, or simultaneous recession and inflation, in the 1970s. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher led the Conservative Party to victory and set about re-privatizing state-run industries and systematically deregulating the British economy. Voters turned the Conservatives out of office in 1997 for the first time in 18 years. Under Labour PM Tony Blair’s market-friendly policies, the British economy outperformed Europe’s other major economies—Germany, France, and Italy. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown was in charge of economic policy prior to becoming Prime Minister in 2007. Brown’s popularity fell a precarious level in 2008. Then global financial crisis hit. Public confidence in Brown’s economic crisis-management skills at first boosted his standing in opinion polls. But with national elections approaching in 2010, the deepening recession and growing public discontent worked against Brown’s hopes of leading the Labour party to a third consecutive victory at the polls. The European Union Great Britain joined the European Union in 1973. However, its policy toward the EU has been characterized by continuing ambivalence. In the 1990s, when the adoption of the euro went into effect, British popular opinion was strongly against a common currency, and London opted out.

Support for U.S. Foreign Policy In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Blair strongly backed the U.S. war on terror. The British played a key role in the bombing of Afghanistan and in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The failure to find any evidence of “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq intensified Britons’ opposition to the war, moving Blair to step down as prime minister in May 2007. Northern Ireland The four options for settling the decades-old civil war in Northern Ireland (Ulster) are (1) reunification of Ulster with Ireland, (2) independence from Britain, (3) devolution (home rule), or (4) integration with Britain. Before a 1994 cease-fire, the provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) repeatedly carried out terrorist attacks in an effort to force the British from Northern Ireland and made bold attempts to assassinate both Thatcher and Major. By the time of the cease-fire, some 3000 people had been killed on both sides—Catholic and Protestant. Northern Ireland has been relatively calm, but when two soldiers and a policeman were murdered there in March 2009, two IRA splinter groups claimed responsibility—a grim reminder that peace in that troubled land is fragile. However, thousands attended rallies in Northern Ireland as a show of anger and outrage over the killings. Any lasting solution will have to take into account the claims of British-backed Protestants, who outnumber Catholics in Northern Ireland, and of Catholics, who constitute an overwhelming majority in the Irish Republic.

France: President Versus Parliament

“arguably the most famous person in the world,” has occupied the British throne for over half a century. The monarch is a national symbol and a source of unity, personifying the state but not wielding its powers. The actual head of the government is the prime minister, who, in close consultation with key cabinet members (often called the inner cabinet), sets domestic and foreign policy. National policy emerges from this leadership core, which then presents it to the cabinet as a whole. Cabinet members who are out of step with the government on an important policy matter are expected to resign quietly.

A Model with Legs Most European democracies are patterned after the British system, although with mixed results. France under the Third and Fourth Republics (1876–1958) and Italy since World War II came to be dominated by political parties and a parliament. The political party system became fragmented, internal party discipline broke down, and the government fell victim to never-ending legislative skirmishes. Strong executive leadership was often missing in France before 1958 and remains a chronic problem in Italy to this day. Such conditions have led to political stalemate in both countries at different times. In France, during the entire life span of the Third and Fourth Republics, no single party ever won a majority of seats in the National Assembly, and no fewer than 119 governments ruled the country, each with an average life of less than a year. A similar malaise has plagued Italy, which had more than 40 prime ministers between 1945 and 1986 (one per year on average). Yet today, parliamentary governments are found all over Europe, with rare exceptions—a major triumph in a region divided by war, revolution, and totalitarian rule until recently. In a real sense, parliamentary government is Great Britain’s gift to Europe—a model with “legs.”

FRANCE: PRESIDENT VERSUS PARLIAMENT The U.S. presidential and British parliamentary systems represent two different approaches to democratic government. Under the Fifth Republic, France has fashioned a form of representative democracy that successfully combines elements of both systems.

The Fifth Republic: A Hybrid System The Fifth Republic, created in 1958, was meant to overcome what its founder, Charles de Gaulle, understood to be the great nemesis of French politics: impotent executives dominated by fractious legislatures (see Figure 7.2). As de Gaulle was fond of pointing out, France’s first three experiments in republican government all ended in dictatorship. Under the Fourth Republic (1946–1958), governments had lasted an average of 6 months. A profusion of political parties, some of fleeting duration,

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FIGURE 7.2 Map of France. Divided into 22 regions, 95 departments, and 36,851 communes, France is a political-administrative jigsaw puzzle. Mayors of major cities often become prominent national politicians; in fact it is quite common for a mayor also to be a member of the National Assembly (the French parliament) at the same time.

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turned France’s parliamentary system into a travesty. Worse, parties at opposite ends of the political spectrum—Gaullists on the right and Communists on the left—both sought to undermine the Fourth Republic’s constitution and force the resignation of weak coalition governments.

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The Fifth Republic’s constitution was short and simple. Its provisions were guided by de Gaulle, who, in a famous address 12 years earlier, declared: The unity, cohesion, and internal discipline of the Government of France must be sacred objects or else the country’s leadership will rapidly become impotent and invalid. . . . The executive power should, therefore, be embodied in a Chief of State, placed above the parties . . . to serve as an arbiter, placed above the political circumstances of the day, and to carry out this function ordinarily in the Cabinet, or, in moments of great confusion, by asking the nation to deliver its sovereign decision through elections. It is his role, should the nation ever be in danger, to assume the duty of guaranteeing national independence and the treaties agreed to by France.5 In sum, the centerpiece of the constitutional system, de Gaulle insisted, would be a strong executive branch to counterbalance the perennially divided parliament. The centerpiece of the executive, however, would be the chief of state (president) rather than the prime minister.

France’s Dual Executive The basic elements of de Gaulle’s diagnosis are etched into nearly every provision of the 1958 constitution that pertain to the organization of public powers. In accordance with the parliamentary model, the French executive is divided (i.e., dual executive). On paper, the prime minister (or premier) is the head of government; the president is head of state. Unlike the British monarch, however, the French president is democratically elected and wields executive powers similar, though not identical, to those of the U.S. president. As France’s leading political figure, the president is independent of the legislative branch, possesses a wide array of powers, and serves a fixed term in office (7 years from 1962– 2000, but now 5 years). France’s constitution positioned the president as the arbitrator of conflicting interests and competing political parties. As the nation’s chief diplomat and foreign-policy decision maker, the president appoints and dismisses the prime minister, dissolves the legislature, calls for new elections, declares a state of emergency, issues decrees having the force of law, and presides over cabinet meetings. In addition, the president can call for a national referendum, a device used a number of times since the 1960s. For example, in 1962, de Gaulle’s popular referendum to replace the electoral college with direct election of the president passed by an overwhelming majority. In a democratic age, nothing gives a political leader more legitimacy or moral authority than a mandate from the voters. Compared with the president, France’s prime minister generally exercises less power and influence, although there is now a greater balance between these two offices than there was in de Gaulle’s time. As head of the government, the prime minister presides over the cabinet and is responsible to the legislature. Together, the prime minister and the cabinet oversee the running of government and the bureaucracy.

dual executive In a parliamentary system, the division of the functions of head of state and chief executive officer between two persons; the prime minister serves as chief executive, and some other elected (or royal) figure serves as ceremonial head of state.

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cohabitation In France, the uneasy toleration of a divided executive.

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In general, however, the constitution of the Fifth Republic does not clearly delineate which powers or functions belong to the president and which belong to the prime minister. Due to his unrivalled stature in French politics, de Gaulle enjoyed considerable latitude in interpreting the constitution. Thus, during his tenure, the presidential powers were elastic—de Gaulle could, and did, stretch them to fit the needs of the moment. No president after de Gaulle, however, has so dominated French politics. Although Socialist François Mitterrand served as France’s president for 14 years (1981–1995), he was no de Gaulle. Neither was his center-right successor, Jacques Chirac. Not until the election of Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007 did France have a charismatic center-right president with the ego and ambition to match de Gaulle’s. By that time, France had endured (and the Fifth Republic had survived) three periods of cohabitation—a political word for a divided executive (a president and prime minister from opposing parties).

Reduced Role of the National Assembly

National Assembly Focal point of France’s bicameral legislative branch that must approve all laws.

If the presidency was clearly the big political winner under the Fifth Republic, the legislature was the loser. France’s parliament is divided into two houses, the Senate and the National Assembly. The French Senate, which has only limited powers, is indirectly elected. The National Assembly, its parliament, is popularly elected from multimember districts in a double ballot (two-stage) election process. As the focal point of legislative power, the National Assembly must approve all proposed laws. However, the word law is rather narrowly defined by the 1958 constitution; in fact, many matters are left to the executive branch, which has the power to issue “decree laws.” The National Assembly is more interesting for the powers it does not have. For example, the French parliament has no power to introduce financial bills. If it fails to approve the government’s budget by a certain deadline, the executive can enact the budget by fiat (presidential decree).

Rival Parties and Seesaw Elections Unlike the United States, France has a wide spectrum of political parties. Rival parties exist on both the left and the right, as well as in the center, and both the Far Right and the Far Left often play a significant role in elections. The two most important parties of the Left are the Communist Party and the Socialist Party. When left-leaning voters began turning away from the Communists in the late 1970s, the Socialist Party was the primary beneficiary on the left. In 1981, the Socialists won a resounding victory at the polls, and Socialist leader Mitterrand was elected president. Although the Socialists lost the 1986 elections, they made a comeback in 1988, when Mitterrand was reelected and the Socialists again became the strongest party in parliament (although they did not have a clear majority). In 1993, however, the center-right won a landslide victory, retaking control of the National Assembly. Two years later, the Neo-Gaullist candidate Jacques

France: President Versus Parliament

Chirac was elected president. Combined with the decisive center-right triumph in Senate elections that same year, Chirac’s election put the conservatives back in the driver’s seat—but not for long. In the June 1997 elections, parties of the Left, again led by the Socialists, won overwhelmingly. Chirac bowed to the will of the electorate and named Socialist Party leader Lionel Jospin the new prime minister. In 1997, Jean-Marie Le Pen’s far-right National Party received more votes than the Gaullist UDF (Union for French Democracy)—14.9 percent to 14.2 percent—and nearly as many as Chirac’s RPR, which had 15.7 percent. Yet the two center-right parties garnered 242 seats in the National Assembly, while the National Party won but a single seat. The reason for this anomaly is that France’s electoral system stacks the deck against fringe parties by requiring a second round of balloting when no candidate receives an absolute majority of votes in the first round. In practice, this means that parties with similar (and less uncompromising) ideological stances can, and do, form temporary alliances between the two balloting rounds. As a result, the influence of fringe or extremist parties is greatly diminished. French voters reversed the tide again in 2002, giving Chirac’s new centerright umbrella party called Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) a clear majority in the National Assembly (357 seats, or 62 percent of the total) in the second round of balloting. But the final result was misleading: The UMP, despite the pre-election realignment that merged three center-right parties into one, had received only 33 percent of the votes in the first round (just 7 percent more than the Socialists). The election outcome thus underscored the way France’s twostep electoral process produces a parliamentary majority out of a fragmented party system. When center-right candidate Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president in May 2007, attention quickly turned to the upcoming parliamentary elections in June. Would the French voters give Sarkozy a “presidential majority” in the National Assembly, or would they effectively tie his hands by voting for opposition parties on both the left and the right? The answer: French voters gave the center-right a solid majority, but little reason to celebrate—the Socialists realized a net gain of forty-six seats while the UMP actually lost forty-four seats. Likewise, in 2008 local and regional elections, the UMP suffered another serious blow, losing numerous city mayoral races and eight departmental presidencies.

Constitution under Pressure: Testing the Balance The Fifth Republic has brought stable democracy to France for half a century now.6 De Gaulle’s influence has extended well beyond his presidency, and his broad interpretation of presidential powers prevails to this day. De Gaulle’s preference for a strong national economy that mixes a large role for the state (a French tradition) with a healthy respect for free-market principles remains firmly fixed as a part of his legacy. Nonetheless, without de Gaulle’s firm hand on the tiller, “long-range programs gave place to expediency, and party alignments obeyed the logic of electoral tactics rather than policy making.”7

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divided executive Situation in French government in which the president and the prime minister differ in political party or outlook.

From the start of the Fifth Republic, France faced the danger of a divided executive: when the president and prime minister represented two different parties, embraced different ideologies, and advanced different policies. Although a deadlocked government remains a hazard in France’s dual-executive system, France has survived three periods of cohabitation, most recently from 1997 to 2002.

Justice à la Française The French judicial system is divided into two basic types of courts—ordinary courts and administrative courts—with different jurisdictions. Despite this

The French Agenda: A Sampler

The Economy High taxes, chronic double-digit unemployment, mounting public debt, and a generally sluggish economy plagued France even before the 2008 global recession brought a sharp downturn in the national economies of all the European Union’s member states. Many French perceive a close link between unemployment and immigration, as immigrants willing to work for low wages crowd into cities and compete for scarce jobs. The Welfare State In the 1990s, Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin reduced the work week from 39 to 35 hours without reducing anyone’s pay. Although such measures are popular for obvious reasons, they also place France at a competitive disadvantage. According to critics, France is paying the price for profligate spending and pandering to labor unions, farmers, pensioners, and other special interests. Without a major overhaul of pensions—a highly charged political issue— the French treasury faces a rising tide of red ink. President Sarkozy talks tough about the need for fundamental reforms in the economy. Easier said than done—especially in the face of rising social discontent as the recession takes its toll.

Immigration and the Far Right The Far Right National Front, led by Jean-Marie Le Pen, has taken up the immigration issue most stridently. There are an estimated 14 million French citizens of foreign ancestry (about 23 percent of the total population) and more than three million Arabs, mostly from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Unemployment and urban decay have eroded traditional French hospitality toward political exiles, refugees, and asylum seekers. The election of Nicolas Sarkozy, a hard-liner on immigration, as president in May 2007 momentarily robbed the Far Right of its one big issue. France and the United States France joined the U.S.-led campaign against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, but President Chirac opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003, defiantly blocking U.S. efforts in the UN Security Council to get the United Nations to endorse the action. Reversing a timehonored French stance, President Sarkozy has sought to establish a close relationship with Washington. After a 40-year absence, France rejoined the NATO integrated military structure in 2009.

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Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s charismatic president, was elected in May 2007.

rather routine distinction, France’s legal system has some interesting twists. For example, the High Council of the Judiciary, chaired by the president, decides on judicial promotions and discipline, whereas the High Court of Justice has the power to try the president for treason and members of the government for crimes related to abuses in office. The Constitutional Council is composed of nine justices—three nominated by the president of the republic, three by the president of the National Assembly, and three by the president of the Senate—plus all the past presidents of the republic. This judicial watchdog plays several vital roles in the French system. It supervises presidential elections and can investigate and resolve contested legislative races. Under certain conditions, it can also render opinions on laws and the constitution. The cases that come before the Council deal with political issues brought by either the president of the republic, the prime minister, the two presidents of the legislature, or at least 60 members of the National Assembly or the Senate.

The Balance Sheet France has taken a troubled and tortuous road to democracy, but in the past half-century it has enjoyed the most stable government for the longest period since the French Revolution. The big question now is not whether its democracy is viable, but whether the French economy is sustainable without dismantling the welfare state that has the government forever teetering on the brink of insolvency.

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GERMANY: FEDERALISM AGAINST MILITARISM Modern Germany burst onto the European scene with two impressive military victories: over Austria in 1866 and France in 1871. Following two world wars and two defeats, Germany was partitioned from 1949 until 1989, when the Berlin Wall was dismantled and the country reunited after the communist regime in East Germany collapsed. To understand Germany’s turbulent history in the first half of the twentieth century, it is necessary to go back to the bitter (for Germans) legacy of World War I.

The Weimar Republic Weimar Republic The constitutional democracy founded in Germany at the end of World War I by a constitutional convention convened in 1919 at the city of Weimar; associated with a period of political and economic turmoil, it ended when Hitler came to power in 1933.

Hitler’s Third Reich sprang from the ashes of the Weimar Republic, Germany’s first experiment with constitutional democracy. The Weimar Republic was ill fated from the moment of its inception because it was associated with Germany’s humiliating defeat and the harsh peace terms imposed by the Allied powers after World War I. Burdened by punitive reparations, Germany fell victim to high unemployment, widespread business failures, and rampant inflation. In the face of such turbulence, German society became polarized between the extreme Right and the extreme Left. In the words of one authority, “Stable democratic government was in jeopardy throughout the life of the Weimar Republic. The country was governed . . . by unpopular minority cabinets, by internally weak Grand Coalitions, or finally, by extra-parliamentary authoritarian Presidential Cabinets.”8 Between the two world wars (1919–1939) the country’s fragile political institutions were put to a test that proved fatal. Given this background, the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 was risky. Whether democracy could ever be made to work in a country that had only recently bowed to a deranged dictator, served a totalitarian state, and looked the other way while millions of innocent people were systematically murdered was an open question.

Divided Germany: The Cold War in Microcosm World War II destroyed Germany. The nation and its capital, Berlin, were subsequently bifurcated into the German Democratic Republic (GDR), or East Germany, and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), or West Germany. From 1949 to 1990, Germany and Berlin, the historical capital, became powerful symbols of the Cold War—the ideological rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union—and the unbridgeable East–West divide. The West German “economic miracle” in the 1950s was unmatched. In the 1960s it was the main engine driving the newly established Common Market, a six-nation trading bloc that in time evolved into the world’s largest single economy—the European Union. West Germany’s success stood in stark contrast

Germany: Federalism Against Militarism

to the dismal Stalinist state of East Germany. The dramatic difference between the two Germanys was highlighted by the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, which was to keep East Germans (and other Eastern Europeans) from escaping to the West through West Berlin. The Berlin Wall became a metaphor for the struggle between freedom and tyranny.

The Great Merger: Democracy Triumphant

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For three decades, East Germans, who endured far lower living standards than West Germans, had not been allowed to emigrate or even to visit relatives across the border. It was the reform-minded Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev who opened the floodgates. East Germany’s end came at a time when rebellion was rife in central and Eastern Europe: Poland and Hungary had already taken giant steps toward dismantling communist rule, and Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria were not far behind. For East German communism, the unraveling started with a mass exodus and ended with the bulldozing of the Berlin Wall following the collapse of the East German regime in late 1989. Following free elections in the former GDR in the spring of 1990, the two Germanys entered into a formal union, with Berlin restored as the capital. Together, the nearly simultaneous collapse of Soviet power and German reunification set the stage for the eastward expansion of the European Union.

During the Cold War the Berlin Wall was a symbol of the political and ideological divide between East and West. When German citizens jubilantly tore down the wall in 1989 it signaled the end of an era in European and world history.

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The remaking of Germany carried a big price tag. West Germans paid for the economic rehabilitation of East Germany with a 7.5 percent income tax surcharge and a higher sales tax. Nonetheless, unemployment in eastern Germany has hovered around 18 percent, nearly twice the rate in western Germany.

German Federalism Prior to 1989, the Federal Republic of Germany consisted of ten states, or Länder (singular, Länd), plus West Berlin. It was about equal in size to the state of Oregon. The merger of the two German states in 1989 added six new Länder to the federal structure. Even so, no fewer than twenty-five countries the size of the united Germany would fit comfortably into the territory of the United States. The main reason for German federalism is political rather than geographic— namely, to act as a barrier to over-centralization of power. The primary responsibility of the Länd or state governments is to enact legislation in specific areas, such as education and cultural affairs. They alone have the resources to implement laws enacted by the federal government, exercise police powers, administer the educational system, and place (limited) restrictions on the press. The federal government in Berlin has the exclusive right to legislate in foreign affairs, citizenship matters, currency and coinage, railways, postal service and telecommunications, and copyrights. In other areas, notably civil and criminal law, as well as laws regulating the economy, the central government and the Länder have shared powers, although the European Union plays a large and ever-greater role in regulating the economies of its twenty-seven member-states. The Länder are more powerful and receive a larger proportion of tax revenues than U.S. states do. For example, individual and corporate income taxes are split between Berlin and the Länder in equal 40-percent shares; the remaining 20 percent goes to the cities. The Länder also receive one-third of the value-added tax, the large but hidden sales (or turnover) tax used throughout Europe.

The Executive Germany has a parliamentary form of government with a divided executive. The most important government official is the chancellor, akin to a prime minister. The head of the majority party in the lower house of parliament becomes the chancellor; if no one party enjoys an absolute majority, as has often been the case, a coalition government chooses the chancellor. The chancellor, with parliamentary approval, appoints and dismisses cabinet members. In case of a national emergency, the chancellor becomes commander-in-chief of the armed forces (which are integrated into the NATO alliance structure) and is responsible for the formulation and implementation of public policy. In November 2005, Angela Merkel became the first woman chancellor in German history.

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The president, as the titular head of state, serves a largely symbolic function, except in the event of political stalemate in parliament. Chosen indirectly for a 7-year term, the president is, like the king or queen of Great Britain, above party politics.

The Legislature The legislative branch of the German government is divided into a lower house, known as the Bundestag, and an upper house, called the Bundesrat. In this bicameral setup, as in France and Britain, the lower house is the more important of the two. In Germany, however, the upper house is a far bigger player than in France and Britain.

The Bundestag The presiding officer of the Bundestag is always chosen from the leadership of the majority party. Procedural matters are governed by rules inherited from the Reichstag, the prewar legislature. Important decisions regarding committee assignments, the scheduling of debates, and other questions of day-to-day parliamentary policy are made through the Council of Elders. This body consists of the president of the Bundestag, the three vice presidents (representing the two major parties—the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party—and the smaller Free Democratic Party), as well as several other members chosen by each of the parties. Elections to the Bundestag are normally held every 4 years. In Germany, the Basic Law (the constitution) requires a “constructive vote of no confidence,” meaning a chancellor cannot be ousted by a no-confidence vote unless the Bundestag simultaneously chooses a successor. This provision was intended as insurance against a recurrence of the governmental instability associated with Hitler’s rise to power. Because the most important work is done in legislative committees, it is especially vital that political parties gain enough seats for a Fraktion, a block of at least fifteen legislative seats. It is only through this unit that deputies can be assigned to committees and political parties can receive formal recognition.

The Bundesrat The upper house must pass to the lower house any measure that would alter the balance of powers between the national government and the Länder. Bundesrat members are appointed by the Länder governments rather than being elected, and they must vote as a bloc. This gives the German states a powerful weapon to protect themselves against federal encroachment and makes the Bundesrat one of the most important upper houses anywhere in the world. Germany’s state governments play a primary role in implementing federal policy as well as in helping to shape that policy in the concurrent areas designated under the Basic Law.

Political Parties Germany’s political party system was consciously designed to keep the number of parties from getting out of hand and to prevent tiny extremist groups from

Bundestag The lower house in the German federal system; most legislative activity occurs in this house. Bundesrat The upper house in the German federal system; its members, who are appointed directly by the Länder (states), exercise mostly informal influence in the legislative process.

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playing a significant role in the country’s political life. To gain Bundestag representation, parties must receive a minimum of 5 percent of the national vote and must win seats in a minimum of three electoral districts. Another factor strengthening the major parties is the mode of elections to the Bundestag. Each voter casts two votes, one for the individual and another for a list of names determined by the party. This method of election gives the major parties a significant role in determining the future of those who aspire to careers in politics and public service, because fully half the members of the Bundestag are elected from party lists in multimember districts by proportional representation. Since 1949, the German Federal Republic has had two major parties— the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the conservative Christian Democratic Union/Christian Socialist Union (CDU/CSU). Because the two major parties have frequently evenly divided the popular vote (and the seats in the Bundestag), the small Free Democratic Party (FDP) has often held the key to forming a government. Both the SPD and the CDU/CSU have courted the FDP at different times but for the same reason. As a result, the FDP has had power disproportionate to its popularity at the polls and has been a junior partner in several coalition governments. In recent years, the Green Party, which started as a social protest movement emphasizing environmental issues, has gained in popularity. In 1998, when the SPD defeated the CDU/CSU but failed to win a majority of the seats in the Bundestag, the Social Democrats, then led by Gerhard Schröder, entered into a coalition with the Green Party to form a center-left government. Schröder, who succeeded Christian Democrat Helmut Kohl (and preceded Angela Merkel) as chancellor, named Green Party leader Joschka Fisher as his foreign minister.

In 2005, Angela Merkel, leader of the Christian Democratic union, became the first female chancellor in German history. Chancellor Merkel’s party won a major victory in national elections held in the fall of 2009, thus greatly strengthening her hand in dealing with Germany’s problems, including a sluggish economy.

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The Judiciary Besides its ordinary judicial functions, the German court system is designed to act as a barrier against abuses of executive or legislative power and as a guardian of civil liberties. The regular judiciary, headed by the Supreme Court, operates alongside a set of four specialized federal tribunals, Labor Court, Social Court, Finance Court, and Administrative Court. From a political standpoint, the most important judicial structure is the Constitutional Court, which deals exclusively with constitutional questions and has the express power to declare the acts of both federal and Länd legislatures unconstitutional.

The German Agenda: A Sampler

Reunification and Its Aftermath Merging the two German states in the 1990s was costly. East Germany’s infrastructure was in disrepair, factories operated with obsolete equipment, unemployment was high due to plant closings. Two decades after the Berlin Wall came down, former West Germany still accounts for 90 percent of the nation’s total GDP. Welfare State Versus Competitive Economy The German economy stalled in the mid-1990s and unemployment hit a post-war high of 12.8 percent in 1998, helping the Social Democrats win control of the government. By 2005, some 5.2 million Germans were jobless—a post-World War II record. German voters brought the center-right Christian Democrats back to power. In recent years, major labor-market and pension reforms have helped restore German industry’s competitiveness. In 2009, economists expected Germany’s economy to shrink—along with that of the rest of the EU nations. Foreign Workers, Illegal Immigrants, and Skinheads Germany has been a magnet for temporary workers and illegal immigrants from Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Of the ten countries that joined the EU in 2004, eight are in Eastern Europe, where with few exceptions per capita income and living standards remain relatively low. Xenophobic

extremists, including neo-Nazis and “skinheads,” have tried to capitalize on popular fears over immigration—so far with little success. Boosting the European Union Germany remains a staunch supporter of European integration. Like France, it favors movement toward a “wider and deeper” Europe. The idea of one Europe appeals to many Germans for historical reasons—to allay any lingering fears of a resurgent Germany bullying the rest of Europe. With the 2004 and 2007 enlargements, Europe’s single economy now embraces some 500 million consumers, creating new opportunities for German businesses and industries. Germany’s Changing Role in Europe and the World Germany is in transition. When it participated in the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia in the mid-1990s, it was the first time German soldiers had been sent abroad since World War II. In 1999, Germany contributed 8,500 combat troops to the NATO operation in Kosovo (Serbia), and after 9/11, it sent 2,000 troops to Afghanistan. Germany’s opposition to the U.S.–British invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the first time Germany openly opposed the United States on a major foreign policy issue since World War II. Most Germans alive today were born after 1945 and thus have no direct experience or recollections of World War II.

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The Bundestag elects half the judges for the Constitutional Court, and the Bundesrat elects the other half. Most judges, however, are chosen on the basis of competitive civil service-type examinations and are appointed for life by the minister of justice, with the assistance of nominating committees selected by the federal and Länd legislatures. Indefinite terms help ensure judicial independence. FIGURE 7.3 Map of Germany. Note that Berlin, once again the capital, is located in the state of Brandenburg. During the Cold War and before Germany reunification in 1990, it was deep inside East Germany. The provinces (now federal states) that comprised the former East Germany were Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, and Thuringia.

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In some eyes, the Constitutional Court is Germany’s most powerful institution. It is certainly the most popular: almost 80 percent of Germans trust it, while fewer than half express confidence in the federal government and the Bundestag. One big reason: the court is widely seen as being above politics. Any German citizen can bring a case before the Constitutional Court, “an antidote to Nazi notions of justice, and some 6,000 a year do so.”9

The Basic Law and Civil Liberties In the realm of civil liberties, as one student of German politics declared, “The relevant historical experience was that of the Third Reich, with its oppressive flouting of all human liberties.”10 The first 19 articles of the Basic Law— Germany’s constitution—are devoted to a careful elaboration of the unalienable rights of every German citizen. All forms of discrimination, including religious and racial discrimination, are expressly prohibited. Freedom of speech, movement, assembly, and association are guaranteed, except when used “to attack the free democratic order.” This last proviso was clearly aimed at the two extremes—Communism on the left, Nazism on the right. Fear of a right-wing resurgence has never been far beneath the surface. Indeed, in postwar Germany, neo-Nazi activity has generally been interpreted as constituting an “attack on the free democratic order.”

Does Democracy in Germany Work? One of the principal purposes behind the Basic Law was to arrange the institutional furniture in the “new Germany” to preclude a repeat performance of the “old Germany.” By any standard, Germany’s performance since World War II was been impressive.

JAPAN: BETWEEN EAST AND WEST Like other Asian societies, Japan had no democratic traditions prior to 1947. In fact, its history and culture often worked against Western democratic ideas. Yet today, Japan is one of Asia’s oldest parliamentary democracies (the other, India, came into being at the same time but under very different circumstances). To see how this remarkable transformation came about, we must first sketch Japan’s historical background.11

Historical Background Japan’s feudal era lasted until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. At that time, under the guise of recapturing ancient glories, Japan crowned a new emperor, of the Meiji dynasty, and embarked on the path to modernization. Meiji Japan remained oligarchic, paying lip service to democracy. A group of elder

Meiji Restoration The end of Japan’s feudal era, in 1868, when a small group of powerful individuals crowned a symbolic emperor, embarked on an economic modernization program, and established a modern governmental bureaucracy.

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FIGURE 7.4 Japan: Note Japan’s proximity to the Korean peninsula and, in the north, to Russia.

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statesmen, or genro, dominated the government, and the emperor, worshiped as a flesh-and-blood deity, personified national unity. He probably also played an important role in decision making on crucial issues.12 Domestically, Japan made great progress during the latter part of the nineteenth century. A modernizing elite promoted, protected, and subsidized a Western-style economic development program. Despite periodic opposition from rural landowners, the government force-fed the economy with infusions of capital designed to promote heavy industry. Only basic or strategic industries were state owned. Within a few decades, the leaders of the Meiji Restoration, according to one authority, “abolished feudal institutions, legalized private property in land, started a Western-style legal system, established compulsory education, organized modern departments of central and local government, and removed the legal barriers between social classes.”13

Japan: Between East and West

After World War I, Japan entered a new phase of political development. Nationalism, taught in the schools, became a kind of religion. Governments blossomed and withered in a rapid and bewildering succession. All attempts at instituting democratic reforms were submerged in the tidal wave of militarism that swept over Japan in the 1930s. Charging that effete politicians infatuated with democracy had kept Japan down, ultranationalists looked to a strong military for leadership. Japan had never truly embraced Western concepts of constitutionalism and liberal democracy. Sovereignty, according to popular belief, issued from the emperor-deity, not from the people. Thus, prior to 1945, Japan had dallied with democracy in form but not in substance.

The 1947 Constitution The 1947 Japanese constitution, imposed by the victors after World War II, sought to remake Japan’s political system. Henceforth, sovereignty would reside in the Japanese people, not in the emperor. U.S. influence on the new Japanese constitution is readily apparent in its preamble: We, the Japanese people, acting through our duly elected representatives in the National Diet, determined that we shall secure for ourselves and our posterity the fruits of peaceful cooperation with all nations and the blessings of liberty throughout this land, and resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government, do proclaim that sovereign power resides with the people and do firmly establish this Constitution. . . . Government is a sacred trust of the people, the authority for which is derived from the people, the powers of which are exercised by representatives of the people, and the benefits of which are enjoyed by the people. Like weavers of a fine tapestry, the framers of the 1947 constitution sought to construct an elaborate system of representative democracy. Among the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution were the rights to receive an equal education and to organize and bargain collectively. In another extraordinary feature, the Japanese constitution explicitly renounced war and pledged that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.” (This provision has not, however, prevented the government from building limited “self-defense forces.”)

Parliament Above Emperor The constitution establishes a parliamentary form of government. The emperor remains the head of state, although as a merely ceremonial figure. The prime minister is the real head of government. The authors of the constitution, however, placed a preponderance of formal power in the new bicameral legislature. That body, called the Diet, was divided into a 480-member House of Representatives elected at least every 4 years (elections can be more frequent when the House is dissolved) and a relatively less powerful House of Councilors, whose 252 members serve 6-year terms (half being elected every other 3 years).

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Originally, members of each house were elected by universal suffrage from multimember districts in which voters made only one selection. This system endured until 1994, when calls for election reforms led to the redrawing of district boundaries and the altering of the election process for the lower House. Now there are 300 single-seat constituencies; the remaining 200 seats are decided by proportional representation. The constitution explicitly states that popular sovereignty is to be expressed through the Diet, the only institution of the government empowered to make laws. Whereas in the past the prime minister and cabinet were responsible to the emperor, they are now responsible to the Diet, the “highest organ of state power.” Japan’s Supreme Court is empowered to declare laws unconstitutional (which it rarely does), and justices are to be approved by the voters every 10 years after their appointment, a process that has become virtually automatic. As we shall see, however, the Japanese have adapted Western institutions to fit Japan’s own rich and resilient cultural traditions. The result is a unique system that combines democratic politics and market economics—the new—with political hierarchy, economic centralization, and social discipline—the old.

The Party System With one brief exception in 1993–1994, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) dominated Japanese politics from 1955 to 2009. Among the smaller parties, the Socialists and Communists occasionally garnered significant numbers of votes, but their legislative role was to provide parliamentary opposition. For four decades, the actual governing of the country fell almost exclusively to the LDP. When a single party retains a majority of seats in a freely elected legislative assembly over an extended time, it usually means the party has satisfied a broad range of social interests. In Japan, the LDP succeeded because it embraced pragmatism over ideological purity, enjoyed the backing of powerful special interests, and benefited from the sheer force of political inertia. According to two authorities, The changes they [the LDP] made toward a more strongly centralized system of government corrected some of the most obvious mistakes of the Occupation. The Liberal Democratic Party, being in power, also controlled a considerable amount of patronage and had the advantage when seeking the support of economic and professional interest groups. With the support of the majority of the rural vote and access to the resources of the business community, the party was in a strong position. It was on intimate terms with the bureaucracy, . . . [but these efforts] were not sufficient. . . . Beginning in 1955, the Liberal Democratic Party attempted to build up a national organization with mass membership.14 The LDP’s consensus-building role became a defining feature of Japanese politics. The party leader, the president, is chosen by delegates to the LDP conference before a national election. Until the 1990s, the LDP leader was assured of being elected prime minister. Getting elected president of the party, however, is not easy: A victor

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emerges only after intense bargaining by party factions, each of which has its own leader, its own constituencies to protect, and its own interests to promote. The LDP nearly self-destructed in the early 1990s, after a series of political scandals severely tarnished the party’s image. A rising tide of social discontent over the rigors of daily life, high prices, long workdays, and a sluggish economy also contributed to the party’s unprecedented defeat in the historical national elections, shattering the one-party-dominant system. What followed was a chaotic period during which Japan would see five different governments come and go. The LDP was the clear loser, but there were no clear winners. In the fall of 1996, disgruntled voters handed the LDP a slim victory at the polls, but control of the party remained in the hands of a change-resistant old guard, and the LDP again fell out of favor with the public as the economy continued a downslide throughout the 1990s. The promise of change came in 2001, when Junichiro Koizumi, an LDP maverick, won a hard-fought battle to become the LDP’s new president. He was reelected by a large majority in September 2003. Reform-minded and opposed to cronyism, Koizumi did not enjoy the support of his own parliamentary party, but the party rank and file (and the public in general) responded enthusiastically to his personal charm, fresh ideas, and candor. Promising reform “without any sacred cows,” Koizumi was rewarded for his efforts as the country’s economy revived. However, his prize proposal—privatization of Japan’s massive postal savings system—was opposed by many members of his own party in the Diet. When the bill was defeated in the upper house in 2005, Koizumi dissolved the Diet and called new elections. The vote, which the LDP won by the largest majority since 1986, was a referendum on Koizumi’s leadership and the postal privatization issue. The bill passed in 2005.

© KATSUMI KASAHARA/AP PHOTO

Junichiro Koizumi, former leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, became prime minister in April 2001 and led the LDP back to a position of dominance in Japanese politics, winning one of the largest parliamentary majorities in modern Japanese history in 2005. He stepped down as LDP party leader and prime minister in 2006.

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After serving five years as LDP party leader and prime minister, Koizumi stepped down in 2006 having won his biggest political battle: Japan’s postal system was privatized in 2007. Although Japan has never fully recovered from the 1990-91 stock market crash there (see “The Japanese Agenda” below) and the subsequent implosion of its “bubble economy,” it still boasts the world’s third largest GDP—behind only the European Union and the United States.

Patron–Client Politics Japanese democracy is a unique blend of imported democratic ideals and native culture—in particular, Japan’s traditional patron–client system that has long characterized Japanese politics. Factional leaders called patrons attract loyal followers or clients. The leader is expected to “feed” his faction, mainly by doling out campaign funds; in turn, faction members are obliged to vote as a solid bloc in the party conference and Diet. Personal loyalty is the basis of financial support, intraparty power, and the prestige of individual leaders within the LDP. The vaunted political reform of 1994 that changed the electoral system temporarily disrupted the traditional behind-the-scenes collusion among government, bureaucracy, and the business elite, but it did not fundamentally change the patron–client system or practices. Nor is it likely to change the nation’s preference for consensus seeking: This method rests on the premise that members of a group—say, a village council—should continue to talk, bargain, make concessions, and so on until finally a consensus emerges. . . . Despite the spread of democratic norms, this tradition of rule by consensus still has its appeal and sometimes leads to cries against the “tyranny of the majority”—for example, when the ruling party with its majority pushes through legislation over the strong protests of the opposition.15 After an 11-month hiatus in 1993–1994, the LDP regained control of the government. But then a new rival party emerged—the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). In the 2007 upper-house elections, the DPJ outpolled the LDP 39% to 21%, but the LDP still had a large majority in the Diet (300 seats to the DPJ’s 113). The LDP’s long run as Japan’s ruling party ended in August 2009 when Japanese voters handed the DPJ a decisive victory, leaving the LDP with just 119 seats to the DPJ’s 308. Voters rejected rule by Japan’s “iron triangle” of party bosses, bureaucrats, and business elites—a closed and corrupt system that was tolerated so long as Japan’s economy was robust. When Japan’s economic miracle gave way to a severe and prolonged slump in the 1990s, the LDP’s popularity faded with it.

The Judiciary and Japanese Culture The Japanese judicial system displays a curious combination of U.S. and European influences. The U.S. influence is evident in the name of Japan’s highest judicial body, the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice is appointed by the Emperor but is nominated by the government; all other justices are appointed by the cabinet. The Supreme Court, like its U.S. counterpart, enjoys the power

Japan: Between East and West

of judicial review, meaning it can declare acts of the legislature unconstitutional. Few other constitutional democracies permit judges to second-guess legislators. Japan’s legal system as a whole is modeled after the European civil law system, but again with some U.S. influences. Culturally, the Japanese are far less prone to sue each other than are U.S. citizens. They are also less likely to resort to the courts as a means of settling civil disputes or to seek redress for alleged injuries and injustices. In Japan, social, rather than judicial, remedies are still the norm. Often, successful intervention by a respected member of the community, the head of a family, or a supervisor at work makes legal action unnecessary.

Does Democracy in Japan Work? Despite the turbulence of the 1990s, Japan has successfully blended Western political forms and Japanese political culture. As in Germany, economics played a key role in the success of the nation’s shotgun democracy. (“Shotgun” because it was the result of defeat in war and military occupation.) Japan’s economic revival after World War II was hardly less miraculous than Germany’s, as bombed-out cities, symbolized by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were turned into models of efficient and innovative industrial production. Deliberate planning by a modernizing entrepreneurial elite was important to Japan’s resurgence; a rising volume of world trade and massive U.S. purchases during the Korean War (1950–1953) were also crucial. Within two decades, Japan’s export-oriented, mercantilist economic strategy produced huge advances in heavy industry—notably, automobile manufacturing, robotics, and consumer electronics. Despite “the loss of 52 percent of Japan’s prewar territories, the return of five million persons to a country about the size of California, the loss of 80 percent of Japan’s shipping, and the destruction of one-fifth of [its] industrial plants and many of [its] great cities,”16 Japan is now a major global economic power. China, with a population more than ten times larger, is only now beginning to catch up with Japan in GDP; India, despite its impressive strides in recent times, remains far behind. After the 1980s “bubble” burst, Japan’s economic growth rate slowed dramatically under the impact of four recessions in a dozen years. When the 1997 “Asian flu” financial crisis hit, Japanese banks were trapped in circumstances they themselves had done much to create by lending vast sums for speculative investments in construction, real estate, and retail trade with little security or scrutiny—like a dress rehearsal for the global financial meltdown that started on Wall Street in September 2008. Japan is and will remain a major economic power, but its technological sophistication no longer sets it clearly apart from its Asian competitors. Reforms aimed at lifting the economy out of its malaise were derailed by the global recession in 2008 and 2009. Prime Minister Taro Aso was elected president of the LDP on September 22, 2008—only 6 days after Wall Street collapsed. In February 2009, Aso had the distinct honor of being the first foreign leader to meet with newly elected President Barack Obama at the White House.

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The Japanese Agenda: A Sampler

Asian Challengers Japan has largely lost its position as the preeminent economic power in Asia. In the 1980s, its main challengers were the so-called newly industrialized countries (NICs)—South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. More recently, the surging economy of the People’s Republic of China has registered double-digit annual growth rates and will soon overtake Japan in absolute GDP size; India’s economy is also growing rapidly; with a population of over 1 billion, and therefore an abundant supply of comparatively cheap labor, India is also a potential economic superpower. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam are three other countries in the region capable of competing with Japan in major export markets. Maintaining Close Relations with the United States The United States is Japan’s most important ally and trading partner. As Japan’s largest export market, the United States is vital to Japan’s economic health (and vice versa). The U.S. air and naval bases in the western Pacific, as well as the massive U.S.

Pacific Fleet, have enabled Japan to concentrate on development of high-technology consumer industries and overseas markets while spending less than 1 percent of its GDP on defense. Sustaining a High Standard of Living Despite its prolonged economic downturn, Japan remains an affluent society. Even so, it is a small, mountainous country with a large population and relatively little land suitable for agriculture or settlement. The problems of overdevelopment—stress-related health problems, rush-hour crowds, traffic congestion—are readily apparent in present-day Japan. Balancing Tradition and Modernity To the casual observer, Japan appears the epitome of modernity. But most Japanese have great respect for tradition and custom, and theirs is an open society with a closed culture impenetrable by outsiders. Grasping this paradox is the secret to understanding how Japan has managed to change on the outside while staying the same on the inside.

INDIA AND ISRAEL: CHALLENGED DEMOCRACIES Moghuls Muslim invaders who created a dynastic empire on the Asian subcontinent; the greatest Moghul rulers were Babur (1526–1530), Akbar (1556–1605), Shah Jahan (1628–1658), and Aurangzeb (1658–1707); Shah Jahan was the architect of the Taj Mahal.

Even if parliamentary rule works in Europe, where it started, and in Japan, where it was imposed by an occupying military power, can it work in other nations and regions where representative government has no roots in native traditions, or even in a country that finds itself in a perpetual state of war with its neighbors? The experiences of India and Israel suggest that it can.

Amazing India: A Parliamentary Miracle India is home to an ancient Hindu civilization and great empires, including that of the Moghuls or Muslim conquerors. Colonized by Great Britain in the nineteenth century, India regained its independence after World War II. The

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questions then were: Would the former colony become one country or two? Or would it fragment into a dozen or more ethno-linguistic states? India is a paradox—an immense and extremely diverse established democracy in which poverty and illiteracy remain widespread despite great progress in recent times. With a population of 1.1 billion, it is the world’s second most populous country. Some 70 percent of India’s people still live in villages, making India a rural society in a postindustrial world. Most children in rural India lack schools and the basic skills (reading, writing, and arithmetic) necessary to find productive work in a modern, urban economy. About two in five will be physically stunted by malnutrition. Roughly half of all Indian women are still illiterate, compared with a ratio of about one in seven in China. Although a recent five-year growth spurt saw India’s economy grow by nearly 9 percent a year, China’s GDP was still 3.5 times larger than India’s in 2008–2009. Two large and distinct populations—the larger one Hindu and the other Muslim—inhabited the subcontinent of India. The heaviest concentration of Muslims was in the northwestern and eastern parts, whereas the vast lands in between, constituting the bulk of the territory under the British Raj, the colonial ruler, were dominated by Hindus. To avoid conflict between these two religiously distinct communities, the retreating British created two states—India and Pakistan. The western part of Pakistan was separated from the eastern part with India in the middle (see Figure 7.5). This geographic anomaly was only one of the problems the British left unresolved. Another was the Hindu-Muslim split within India: Although most

FIGURE 7.5 Pakistan at independence in 1947: Note that West and East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh) were on opposite sides of India.

Kashmir (disputed)

West Pakistan India Bangladesh

Ceylon

British Raj British colonial rule on the Asian subcontinent from the eighteenth century to 1947, when India and Pakistan became independent.

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Lok Sabha The lower house of India’s Federal Parliament; the directly elected House of the People; in India, as in the United Kingdom and other parliamentary systems, governments are formed by the majority party (or a coalition of parties) in the lower house following national elections (see also Rajya Sabha). Rajya Sabha The upper house of India’s Federal Parliament; the indirectly elected Council of States (see also Lok Sabha).

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Muslims inhabited the territory of Pakistan, a large Muslim minority remained within the territory of the newly independent state of India. Even more problematic was the fact that India is a mosaic of diverse ethnic and cultural minorities, each speaking a different language. There were also several religions, including Sikhism, Jainism, and Christianity, as well as Hinduism and Islam. Finally, no account of contemporary India is complete without mentioning poverty and population. Next to China, India is the most populous country in the world, with more than one billion souls. To this day, tens of millions are illiterate, and hundreds of millions are desperately poor, living in rural areas with little or no access to basic services, schools, health clinics, jobs, and the like. Village life is not a romantic idea in modern-day India: for more than twothirds of India’s population, it is a harsh reality. But India is changing. After decades of sluggish growth (averaging roughly 3 percent per year and called the “Hindu” growth rate), which for a time barely exceeded the rate of population increase, economic reforms put in place by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the 1990s galvanized the Indian economy. “The Indian tiger is on the prowl,” wrote the Economist in 2007, and “at some point, India’s growth rate could even outpace China’s; and if you measure things by purchasing power parity, India should soon overtake Japan and become the third-biggest economy, behind only America and China.”17 In fact, India’s economy was growing almost as fast as China’s before the global recession slowed both economies in the fall of 2008. Despite all its recent achievements, however, India still faces huge challenges. Communal conflict among Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs and ethnic violence have plagued the country since independence. Nor has trouble been strictly internal; India has fought wars with both China and Pakistan. The bitter dispute between India and Pakistan over the territory of Kashmir (see the map) has never been resolved, turning the two countries into perennial foes. One of the most dangerous moments came in the early 1970s, when East Pakistan broke away and became the present state of Bangladesh. India and Pakistan both possess nuclear weapons. India’s border dispute with China has included military confrontation and conflict in the past but is now on the back burner, if not entirely forgotten. As for India’s economic prospects, the picture is brighter but far from rosy. India’s sustainable rate of growth is probably lower than its historically high rates in 2006–2008. Despite clear signs that the country is on the move, modernization and the rise of a prosperous middle class have done little, so far, to pull hundreds of millions at the bottom out of poverty. People in rural India still “waste hours queuing for drinking water,” children still have no chance to go to school, and “around half of all Indian women are still illiterate.”18 And yet, there it is: a parliamentary democracy (see Box 7.1), functioning for more than half a century in a society faced with staggering challenges and presented with such extremes of size and diversity that its very existence for five decades as a single state under a single form of government—any form of government—is nothing short of miraculous. Except for one brief interlude in the late 1970s, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of national emergency and assumed dictatorial powers, India’s leaders, starting with the

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BOX 7.1 FOCUS ON

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India’s Federal Government

India is a federal system with an indirectly elected president who plays an essentially ceremonial role in the government. The real power resides in a freely elected parliament and a prime minister who is the leader of the majority party (as in other parliamentary systems). The prime minister chooses a cabinet that is

presented for approval to the Lok Sabha, the lower house. The Rajya Sabha or upper house is indirectly elected; it plays second fiddle to the lower house, but it debates and can delay passage of legislation, thus giving its members a real voice in the policy-making and law-making processes.

great Jawaharlal Nehru, have operated within the framework of a British-style parliamentary democracy. In the May 2009 national elections, with some 300 parties and independent candidates vying for votes, over 417 million ballots were cast across India during a period of several weeks. The turnout rate was an impressive 58% (in contrast to the 2009 European Union elections in which the turnout rate was a mere 43%). The outcome: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress party won a large plurality of the votes, by far the biggest bloc of seats in parliament, and thus retained control of the government.

Israel: A War Republic Like India, Israel came into being after World War II. Unlike Indians, most Israelis are relatively recent immigrants to the territory once known as Palestine. Also in stark contrast to India, Israel’s population and territory are tiny—thus, the problem Israel faced was being too small, not too large. From its inception as a state, Israel was awash in controversy and surrounded by hostile Arab neighbors. In fact, Israel’s very birth was violent, resulting from a bitter and prolonged struggle with the indigenous population of Palestinian Arabs. Israel is a secular state but a Jewish society. A great influx of Jews into Palestine followed on the heels of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in the 1930s; however, the movement for a Jewish state in the modern era dates back to the 1890s. Zionism, as this movement was called, gathered momentum in 1917 with the famous Balfour Declaration, named for the then British foreign minister who authored the first official endorsement of the idea of a Jewish state. (At the time, Palestine was a virtual colony of Great Britain.) Israel and the Holocaust are inextricably intertwined. The original idea backed by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations after World War II was to carve two states out of the historic territory of Palestine— one for Jews and the other for Palestinian Arabs—and to make Jerusalem, sacred to three religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), an international city under

Zionism The movement whose genesis was in the reestablishment, and now the support of, the Jewish national state of Israel. Balfour Declaration Named for the British foreign secretary who, in 1947, declared that the United Kingdom favored ‘‘the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people’’ and pledged to ‘‘facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing nonJewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.’’

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FIGURE 7.6 Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs claim the same historic land of Palestine, which has been at the epicenter of the Middle East conflict since the state of Israel was founded in 1947.

LEB

SYRIA Zefat

Haiffa

Nazareth Hadera Netanya

Mediterranean Sea

Tel Aviv-Yafo

Janin

WEST BANK

Jerusalem Gaza Khan Yunis Rafah

Bethlehem Hebron

SAUDI ARABIA

Be’er Sheva

ISRAEL

JORDAN

EGYPT

Elat

Camp David Accords A 1979 agreement by which Israel gave the Sinai back to Egypt in return for Egypt’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist; the two former enemies established full diplomatic relations and pledged to remain at peace with one another.

the auspices of the United Nations. That idea died when the Palestinian Arabs rejected the deal they were offered in 1947—though the Jewish side accepted it. As a result of the ensuing war, most Palestinian Arabs were displaced by Jewish settlers and became refugees living in squalid camps in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank of Jordan, and Lebanon. This situation left a legacy of bitterness and despair that has inscribed itself indelibly in modern Middle Eastern history, pitting the Arab-Islamic world against a diminutive but invincible Jewish state. Facing hostile Arab neighbors on all sides, Israel fought and won three wars of self-defense with Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon: the Suez Crisis in 1956, the Six Days’ War in 1967, and the Yom Kippur War in 1973. In the 1967 war, Israel seized and kept control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Desert (Egypt), the West Bank (Jordan), and the Golan Heights (Syria). In the 1973 war, Israel was in a position to conquer all of Egypt but—under heavy diplomatic pressure from the United States—decided against doing so. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter brokered the Camp David Accords—a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. This historic deal included large U.S. subsidies to both parties, but it worked: Egypt and Israel have not exchanged blows since 1973.

India and Israel: Challenged Democracies

Sadly, the Middle East in general and Palestine in particular continue to be turbulent and violent. In the 1980s and 1990s, a protracted Palestinian uprising, the intifada, in the occupied territories (disputed Arab lands seized by Israel in the 1967 Six Days’ War) caused deaths and suffering on both sides. Although it is common to speak of two such uprisings, it was really one that was interrupted during part of the 1990s when the hope of a peace settlement hung in the balance. The intifada that never really ended only got worse after the military group, Hamas, won parliamentary elections in the “state” of Palestine (the territory under the control of the Palestinian Authority) in January 2006. This upset victory set the stage for a struggle within the Palestinian territories between Hamas and the more moderate Fatah. The struggle split the territories politically, with Fatah controlling the West Bank (under the leadership of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) and Hamas controlling Gaza. Thereafter, Israel was hit by rocket attacks from Gaza; at the end of 2008, after stern warnings to Hamas, Israel invaded Gaza, killing many militants and some civilians; destroying buildings, including residences, thought to be harboring Hamas fighters; and leaving an otherwise poor and isolated Gaza in ruins. In 2009, parliamentary elections in Israel resulted in a virtual tie between Tzipi Livni, the centrist leader of the Kadimi party, and Benyamin Netanyahu, the right-wing leader of Likud. The hawkish Netanyahu, who as prime minister in the 1990s had turned his back on a possible peace settlement with the Palestinians, was subsequently elected prime minister. In the Middle East, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite all, Israel has been governed as a parliamentary democracy without interruption since its founding. Like the United Kingdom, it does not have a written constitution. The reason is that security takes precedence over all other values in Israel, including the rule of law: thus, to protect the 5.7 million Jews who comprise the 75 percent majority, there are severe restrictions on the civil liberties of the roughly 1.14 million Arabs who are also citizens of Israel but now constitute only 20 percent of the population. Nonetheless, all Israeli citizens enjoy the right to vote in free elections, criticize the government, engage in peaceful protests, and emigrate. Indeed, Israel at times is almost too democratic for its own good: Elections based on a wide-open system of proportional representation, in which even small upstart parties can often win a few seats, mean Israel’s Knesset or parliament is a free-for-all that is often confusing and chaotic. Governments are forged from coalitions ranging from the center-left to the far right, depending on the mood of the country, the state of relations with Arab neighbors, and the outcome of the most recent election. The occurrence of one crisis after another has probably saved Israel from the consequences of a contentious political culture and a chaotic party system—among them a great deal of governmental instability. Nonetheless, Israel remains a marvel of economic and political survival in a hostile environment. The examples of India and Israel as parliamentary democracies functioning under extremely adverse circumstances do not prove that popular self-government can work everywhere, but they demonstrate it can work in some very unlikely places.

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intifada An Arabic word meaning ‘‘uprising’’; the name given to the prolonged Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza in 1987–1993 and again in 2001–2002.

Knesset The unicameral Israeli parliament.

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THE ADAPTABILITY OF DEMOCRACY The examples of France, Germany, Japan, India, and Israel suggest that democracy is surprisingly adaptable. There are always idealists and dreamers who choose to believe it can be made to work everywhere, but that is probably not the case. Nor can democracy be imposed on a society, which we ought to know from our own bloody experience in Vietnam, for example. In 2009, it remains a wide-open question whether the lasting legacy of the Bush administration in Iraq and Afghanistan will be democracy, dictatorship, or never-ending civil war. Virtually every government in the world today, no matter how tyrannical, tries to give the appearance of constitutionalism and claims to be democratic. Indeed, democracy is, by definition, popular. It is no surprise that the idea of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” has a kind of universal moral appeal. So democracy is unquestionably the best form of government, right? The answer is not as simple as flag-waving patriots in our midst would have us believe. The Islamic societies of North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, for example, have religion-based cultures and legal systems incompatible with the individualism, secularism, religious tolerance, and permissiveness inherent in the idea of liberal democracy. It is impossible to force people to be free. By the same token, starving people cannot eat freedom. The wretched masses in desperately poor nations plagued by overpopulation, chronic food shortages, and corrupt officials are apt to view constitutionalism as a vague and meaningless abstraction. For people living on the edge, any government that can alleviate the misery of daily existence even a little bit is a good government. But it would also be a mistake to sell democracy short. Democracy now flourishes in Germany and Japan where dictatorship was once the rule. Many commentators attributed the failure of Germany’s Weimar Republic to an allegedly ingrained antidemocratic passion for order and authority among the Germans. By the same token, Japan had virtually no experience with democracy before World War II, and its consensus-based patron–client culture appeared to be at odds with the basic principles of democracy. And who would have thought democracy had any chance of succeeding in India? Are these nations exceptions that prove the rule? The experiences of such diverse countries as France, Germany, Japan, India, and Israel suggest that constitutional democracy is a surprisingly adaptable form of government that can work in a variety of social, cultural, and economic contexts. But the fact that it has yet to take root in the Islamic world or Africa is a cautionary note—one we ignore at our own peril.

PRESIDENTS VERSUS PARLIAMENTS: A BRIEF COMPARISON The following section briefly compares presidential and parliamentary government. For simplicity’s sake, we will focus on the U.S. and British models.

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The Legislature The purpose of legislatures is to enact laws. Beyond that general similarity, however, the British legislative branch is surprisingly unlike its U.S. counterpart. In the British tradition, Parliament is sovereign. According to Sir William Blackstone (1723–1780), the famed British jurist, Parliament can do “everything that is not naturally impossible.” In the words of another authoritative writer, “This concept of parliamentary sovereignty is of great importance and distinguishes Britain from most other democratic countries. Parliament may enact any law it likes, and no other body can set the law aside on the grounds that it is unconstitutional or undesirable.”19 In contrast, the U.S. system places the Constitution above even Congress. Ever since the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison, the U.S. Supreme Court has successfully asserted its right and duty to overturn any law passed by Congress that it deems unconstitutional.20 In both systems, of course, legislatures can pass or defeat proposed new laws, both confirm new cabinet ministers, and both have oversight powers. But there is nothing in the U.S. Congress to compare with the Question Time in the British Parliament, when the various government ministers are required to answer questions submitted by MPs. Question Time occurs Mondays through Thursdays. On Wednesdays, the prime minister answers questions from 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. The questions, which run the gamut from the trenchant to the trivial, are aimed at clarifying issues, focusing public attention, eliciting information, and holding the government accountable for its actions (or its failure to act). Question Time is when the Opposition can and does go on the attack. It is representative democracy at its best.

Legislative Independence In theory, U.S. legislators have more latitude for independent action than do British MPs. Because senators and representatives are elected as individuals rather than on party tickets, the U.S. Congress is an assembly of 535 potential prima donnas. Political parties wield some influence, but they are loosely organized and poorly disciplined, at least by European standards. U.S. lawmakers tend to be oriented toward special interests and local, rather than national, constituencies. They are elected to advance local interests and are usually beholden to powerful special interests that contribute generously to the campaign coffers of virtually all incumbents. Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill’s famous quip that “All politics is local” was probably true at one time. But in today’s Washington, all politics—no matter how “local” in appearance—is actually financed by out-of-state political action committee (PAC) money. Powerful special interests seeking influence over future legislation want to have as many “friends” on Capitol Hill as money can buy, and most candidates seeking high office cannot raise enough money locally to run the kind of high-priced, media-based campaign necessary to win. Thus, money, not party affiliation, now dictates how legislators vote on most issues most of the time (see Box 7.2).21 Most parliamentary systems display far greater party discipline than we find in the United States, especially in countries with electoral systems based on proportional representation. In these countries, legislators are chosen in multimember districts from party lists. The party organization decides who to put

parliamentary sovereignty In the United Kingdom, the unwritten constitutional principle that makes the British parliament the supreme lawmaking body; laws passed by Parliament are not subject to judicial review and cannot be rejected by the Crown. Question Time In the United Kingdom, the times set aside Monday through Thursday every week for Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition (the party out of power) to criticize and scrutinize the actions and decisions of the government (the party in power); twice each week, the prime minister must answer hostile questions fired at him or her by the opposition.

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BOX 7.2 FOCUS ON

Parliamentary Democracy

The Best Government Money Can Buy

WASHINGTON, September 26, 2006—In the 2004 federal races, more than $1.85 billion flowed through a professional corps of consultants whose influence plays an important, though largely unexamined, role in the unrelenting escalation of campaign spending, a groundbreaking Center for Public Integrity study has found. The money going to these consultants amounted to about half of the total spending by presidential candidates, national party committees, general

election candidates for Congress, and so-called 527s—independent political groups. In the 2008 U.S. presidential race, total spending by all presidential candidates exceeded $1.3 billion. SOURCES: Center for Public Integrity, accessed at on February 10, 2007; OpenSecrets.org, Center for Responsive Politics, accessed at on April 3, 2009, and updated by the author.

on the ballot and in what position (first, last, or somewhere in between). The candidate at the top has the best chance of winning a seat. Moreover, because campaigns are shorter, operate under stricter rules, and cost far less than in the United States, money is a less obtrusive (though not insignificant) force in European elections. Then, too, parliamentary systems often subsidize political campaigns directly or indirectly, for example by requiring radio and television stations to set aside free time for political advertising in the run-up to elections. The fact that governments can (and often do) rise and fall on votes in parliament also reinforces party discipline in parliamentary systems, because defeat of any bill proposed by the government can be a vote of no confidence, forcing the government to resign and call for new elections.

Structural Complexity In contrast to the complex committee system in the U.S. Congress, there are only six standing committees in the House of Commons. These committees, each with twenty to fifty members, are not specialized and consider bills without reference to subject matter. They do not have the power to call hearings or solicit expert testimony, and they cannot table a bill; at most, they can make technical adjustments in its language. This system affords special interests relatively limited opportunities to lobby. Both the U.S. House and Senate have more than fifteen specialized committees with numerous subcommittees, each charged with even more specialized tasks. Moreover, committees and subcommittees have the power to hold hearings and subpoena witnesses as part of routine investigations into executive branch programs and operations. Until recently, it was a given that Congress played the role of a critical constitutional watchdog in the U.S. system of government. Students were taught that oversight occurs at many points in the legislative process (during the authorization and appropriation phases of the budgetary process, for example, or by means of investigations and hearings); that lawmakers who have large

Presidents Versus Parliaments: A Brief Comparison

professional staffs regularly conduct program evaluation and policy review; and that these staffers are often powerful, behind-the-scenes operators on whom legislators rely for advice and counsel. However accurate this picture may have been, it is not the way Congress works today. Whether Congress will reclaim its rightful constitutional role, now that the United States has a reform-minded president and a Congress with a majority-party led by politicians who talk a good game, remains to be seen. In early 2009, however, Congress still appeared to be a “broken branch” of government.22

The Executive-Legislative Nexus A key difference between the two political systems lies in the extent to which the legislature determines the makeup of the executive branch. As we noted earlier, the prime minister is the leader of the majority party in Parliament. Government ministers—the cabinet—are prominent members of the majority party. Because the parliamentary system blurs distinctions between legislative and executive powers, it is often difficult to determine where the authority of one branch begins and that of the other leaves off. No such fusion of powers exists under the presidential system of government. Unlike senators and representatives, presidents enjoy a national popular mandate, and the presidency derives its powers from a separate section of the Constitution. Nonetheless, Congress does have some influence over the staffing of the executive branch, because the Senate must confirm all cabinet and many other high-level appointments. If there are abuses of power or if the White House lies to the public or tries to cover up wrongdoing, Congress can hold public hearings, subpoena government officials to testify, and censure those who violate the law or the public trust—at least that is how it works in theory. Unlike Parliament, however, Congress does not have the power to bring down the executive by a vote of no confidence. Even if Congress votes down a key program proposed by the White House, the president will normally remain in office for a full 4-year term. Unless a president dies in office or resigns, he or she can be removed only by impeachment, and no U.S. president has ever been impeached and convicted (see below).

The Executive The executive branch of government comprises the head of government and the head of state, the cabinet, and the bureaucracy. In the U.S. system, the president is the head of government and the chief of state; in the British system, the executive is divided between the prime minister (head of government) and the monarch (head of state). Presidents in the United States also enjoy the security of a fixed term. By contrast, the British prime minister’s position depends on his or her ability to retain the confidence of a majority in the House of Commons. Prime ministers frequently are forced to step down either because public opinion turns against them or because they lose on a key vote in Parliament. Only the voters can force a sitting president out of office, except in extraordinary circumstances involving grave misconduct (“high crimes and

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As both head of the government and head of state, the U.S. president delivers the annual State of the Union address to Congress and the people.

common law In Great Britain, laws derived from consistent precedents found in judges’ rulings and decisions, as opposed to those enacted by Parliament. In the United States, the part of the common law that was in force at the time of the Revolution and not nullified by the Constitution or any subsequent statute.

misdemeanors”). Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both impeached, but neither was convicted. Richard Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment. In the U.S. system, the president is the nation’s commander in chief, chief legislator (not only because of the veto power, but also because of the significant amount of legislation presidents propose), and chief diplomat. The president’s power, authority, and prestige are thus unsurpassed among democratically elected chief executives. In at least one area, however, British prime ministers have an advantage over U.S. presidents, and that is in party leadership. As head of the government and head of the majority party, a British prime minister holds the key to success. The fortunes of the government and the majority party rise and fall together. If the government succeeds, the party in power will be rewarded at the polls. If not, it will find itself in opposition after the next election. Only through the party can a British prime minister govern, and only through governing can a party achieve its aims. Not surprisingly, British MPs seldom cross the aisle in the House of Commons.

The Judiciary Despite significant differences in the structures of their court systems, both the United States and Great Britain share what is generally known as the common law tradition. Common law is based on decisions made by judges rather than laws promulgated by legislatures. The idea dates back at least as far as

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the twelfth century, when Henry II sought to implement a system by which judges were charged with enforcing the king’s law while taking into account local customs. In the process of resolving disputes, each judge made, and sent to London, a record of the legal proceedings. Over the years, certain common themes and legal principles emerged from these records, and magistrates turned to certain celebrated judicial decisions for guidance. In time, these precedents and decisions were codified by judicial commentators—the most famous being William Blackstone—and were carried to all corners of the globe, including the American colonies. Notwithstanding this shared common law background, the legal systems of the United States and Great Britain differ with respect to selection of judges, organization of the judiciary, powers of judicial review, and other key structural matters.

Selection of Judges Great Britain has two kinds of law schools. In the lowerlevel law schools, one studies to become a solicitor, a legal counsel who prepares cases for court, advises clients, and draws up contracts, wills, and other legal documents. More exclusive law schools produce barristers, who can do everything solicitors do but can also enter a court and plead cases. In the British system, judges are appointed only from the ranks of barristers. To be recommended for a judgeship, a barrister must have achieved a high-class rank in law school and performed several years of outstanding legal service. U.S. judicial selection is much more political and open to abuse.23 A judge may be appointed on the basis of high marks at a prestigious law school or after years of distinguished legal practice, but not necessarily. More often, appointments to the federal bench are based on transparent political calculations—to reward an individual for favors; to appease a powerful senator, representative, or local party boss; or to achieve a certain geographic balance in the distribution of judgeships. At the state and local levels, judges are sometimes elected. The political nature of “justice” in the U.S. system was on display in 2007 when then–Attorney General Alberto Gonzales came under heavy pressure to resign after he summarily fired six federal prosecutors on grounds apparently unrelated to competency or objective standards of job performance. Gonzales finally did step down in September 2007.

Federal Versus Unitary Courts The U.S. judicial system is organized on a federal basis. There are actually fifty-one separate court systems. The federal court system adjudicates legal questions in which either the federal government is one of the parties or a federal law is invoked. The federal judiciary is subdivided into district courts, in which most cases originate; appellate courts, which review cases on appeal from district courts; and the Supreme Court, which acts primarily as a court of last resort, settling cases that raise particularly troublesome questions of legal interpretation or constitutional principle. Coexisting with this federal court system are fifty state court systems, most of which also feature a three-tier structure. The state courts are not completely separated from the federal courts in the U.S. judicial system. The U.S. Supreme Court frequently accepts cases on appeal from the highest courts of the various states when legal questions raised there have constitutional implications.

solicitor In Great Britain, an attorney who can prepare court cases and draw up contracts and other legal documents but cannot plead cases or become a judge. barristers In Great Britain, an attorney who can plead cases in court and be appointed to the bench. district courts The court in which most U.S. federal cases originate. appellate courts A court that reviews cases on appeal from district courts. Supreme Court The U.S. federal Court of last resort, setting cases that raise particularly troublesome questions of legal interpretation or constitutional principle.

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The British court system is more streamlined, reflecting Britain’s unitary government. The absence of state courts means many of the jurisdictional and procedural complexities that plague the U.S. judiciary are lacking in Great Britain.

Judicial Review Perhaps the most important political difference between the judicial review The power of a court to declare acts by the government unconstitutional and hence void.

two judicial systems is visible in judicial review, the power of the courts to uphold or strike down legislative or executive actions. In the United States, both state and federal courts review the acts of the other branches of government— state courts on the basis of state constitutions and federal courts on the basis of the U.S. Constitution. This power of judicial review is greatly enhanced by the existence of written constitutions, which often provide a highly authoritative yardstick by which to measure ordinary (statutory) law. To some extent, the mere existence of federalism made judicial review necessary in the United States. If state courts could decide for themselves how to interpret federal law, no national body of jurisprudence would have much meaning.24 The need for legal uniformity, and the belief that there are certain higher principles of law to which governmental action at all levels must conform, lie at the core of the concept of judicial review, not only in the United States but also in most other constitutional democracies. In contrast, British judges play only a limited role in governing the nation. Whereas the question of constitutionality hovers over every legislative and executive act in the United States, in Great Britain the judiciary does not possess the power to overturn an act of Parliament. Nor do British judges act as constitutional guardians of civil liberties, as U.S. judges do whenever they assert the primacy of individual rights over legislative acts. Only rarely do British judges rule that the executive branch has overstepped its legal bounds. In the words of one authority, The powers of the British government are constrained in spite of rather than because of formal institutions of the laws. Englishmen voice fewer complaints about the denial of civil liberties or due process of the law than do citizens in many countries with written constitutions, bills of rights, and established procedures for judicial review.25 The British court system is headed by a member of the cabinet, known as the Lord Chancellor, who presides over the House of Lords and makes recommendations on judicial appointments. Theoretically, the high court of Britain is the House of Lords, though in actual operation, it comprises only a small number of lords with distinguished legal backgrounds. The fusion of powers characteristic of the British parliamentary system thus intermingles legislative and judicial powers in the upper house, just as it meshes legislative and executive powers in the lower house.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Two Systems In the words of one U.S. academic, “The parliamentary system is a Cadillac among governments.” The same author referred to the U.S. presidential system

Presidents Versus Parliaments: A Brief Comparison

as a “Model T.”26 Parliamentary systems are often credited with being highly responsive to voters. Political parties campaign on distinct, well-defined platforms. If the election outcome results in a strong mandate for one party, the resulting government is likely to succeed in pushing its program through the parliament. If government policies prove unpopular or impracticable or if the government falls into disrepute for any reason whatsoever, the prime minister or the ruling party can be replaced with no major shock to the political system as a whole. Finally, the British parliamentary system’s greater party discipline makes it more efficient than the presidential system. The U.S. presidential system, critics have asserted, is too often marked by deadlocks stemming from the checks and balances built into its tripartite structure. Too often, one party controls the presidency and another controls the Congress. Moreover, it is very difficult to remove an incompetent or unpopular president from office. In addition, an ossified two-party system leaves many groups and interests underrepresented in the Congress. Finally, the so-called popular election of the president is a farce. In critics’ view, the archaic practice of choosing electors on a winner-takes-all basis means the will of the majority may not carry the day—witness the 2000 election in which Al Gore won the popular vote but George W. Bush won the White House.

GATEWAYS TO THE WORLD: EXPLORING CYBERSPACE www.ukpol.co.uk This site takes an extensive look at British political parties and government, including information about individual members of parliament, party platforms and manifestos, election results and analysis, and links to other sites. library.byu.edu/˜rdh/wess/fren/polygov.html An excellent starting point for information on French government and politics. www.germany-info.org A general information site on Germany, including a collection of contacts’ addresses and phone numbers from various levels and sectors of the German government, vital statistics on Germany, and links to other sites. Some of the referenced sites are available only in German, whereas others have an English translation. mofa.go.jp This is the official Website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. It is updated daily with press releases, news, and other information related to the government and foreign policy of Japan. There are links to general information sites as well.

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http://india.gov.in/ The national portal for India. A useful source of basic information about India’s government, society, and economy. Also, check out the “Overseas” feature, which offers “a wide range of options to travel and study in India.” www.asianinfo.org/asianinfo/india/politics.htm This site claims to be “Your complete resource on Asia”—an extravagant claim but definitely not a bad place to look for information on politics and government in India, as well as other Asian countries. http://www.goisrael.com/tourism_eng The official Website of the state of Israel. At first glance, it appears this website is devoted exclusively to tourism, but that is not the case. Click “Discover Israel” and you will find all sorts of information about Israeli society, government, history, the economy, and much more. Also, be sure to look in the “Article Archive.”

SUMMARY The British parliamentary model features a fusion of powers, indefinite terms of office, disciplined parties, and a dual executive. This model of constitutional democracy has been imitated more widely (except in Latin America) than the U.S. model. It is especially influential in Europe, where it has inspired most of the constitutional democracies in existence. France is a hybrid form of constitutional democracy, combining features of both the U.S. and the British systems. Germany features a parliamentary system but differs from both France and Great Britain in that it is federal (comprising states called Länder), rather than unitary. Japan is also a parliamentary democracy. Politically, it differs from Europe in its political culture rather than its political structure. Japan has incorporated a consensus-based society with informal, highly personal networks of political power based on patron–client relations into a set of political institutions that, on the surface, appear to be made in Europe. (Actually, they were made in America during the U.S. occupation after World War II.) India and Israel are two unlikely candidates for republican rule, yet they have both survived as parliamentary democracies for more than half a century. Their examples suggest the parliamentary model is highly adaptable and has wide application, even in places that appear too troubled or turbulent for elections to occur or stable governments to endure. The U.S. and British systems invite comparisons and offer provocative contrasts in the legislative, executive, and judicial areas. It is difficult to say which system is better in the abstract; the answer exists only within the specific context and circumstances of each nation.

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KEY TERMS parliamentary system mixed regime no-confidence vote party discipline Loyal Opposition dual executive cohabitation National Assembly divided executive Weimar Republic Bundestag

Bundesrat Meiji Restoration Moghuls British Raj Lok Sabha Rajya Sabha Zionism Balfour Declaration Camp David Accords intifada Knesset

parliamentary sovereignty Question Time common law solicitor barristers district courts appellate courts Supreme Court judicial review

REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. Why is the British political system often considered a model of parliamentary democracy? 2. What are the basic operating principles of the parliamentary system? 3. How can the British manage without a written constitution? 4. When did the current French republic come into being and under what circumstances? 5. Compare and contrast democracy in France with democracy in the United States and the United Kingdom. (Trick question: Which country did France model its own political system after?) 6. When did Japan adopt the parliamentary system and under what circumstances? 7. Compare and contrast democracy in Japan with democracy in France and Great Britain. 8. Comment on the significance of parliamentary democracy in India and Israel. 9. Compare the strengths and weaknesses of parliamentary versus presidential rule.

RECOMMENDED READING Bailey, Sydney. British Parliamentary Democracy, 3rd ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1978. A comprehensive introduction to the functioning of the British democracy. Birch, Anthony. Concepts and Theories of Modern Democracy, 3rd. ed. New York: Routledge, 2007. The title says it all. Diamond, Larry. The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World. New York: Holt, 2009. A hopeful and optimistic book about the prospects for democracy in the world by a highly respected political scientist whose intelligent and well-researched argument will make most readers want to stand up and cheer.

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Diamond, Martin, Winston Fisk, and Herbert Garfinkel. The Democratic Republic: An Introduction to American National Government. Skokie, IL: Rand McNally, 1970. An introductory text that contains an extraordinarily insightful discussion of the relationship between the American Founders and political institutions. Dicey, A. V. Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982. A classic account of the British political tradition. Magstadt, Thomas. Nations and Governments: Comparative Politics in Regional Perspective, 5th ed. Belmont, California: Cengage/Wadsworth, 2005. The 6th edition of this book, which deals in greater depth with the European democracies covered in this chapter, is forthcoming in 2010. Ornstein, Norm E., and Thomas G. Mann. The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. The authors argue cogently that Congress no longer performs its critical constitutional functions and offer a well-conceived prescription for change. Tilly, Charles. Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. A comparative study of the processes of democratization at the national level over the past several hundred years. The author explores the processes in both the rise and fall of democracies.

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Wen Jiabao is the Premier of the People’s Republic of China. As head of the government, he shares power with President Hu Jintao—significantly, both are engineers by profession, reflecting the pragmatism of China’s new generation of leaders. Wen (pictured here), for example, has an advanced degree from the Beijing Institute of Geology.

8

States and Economies in Transition Between Democracy and Yesterday

The Collapse of Communism Russia: Old Habits Die Hard The Superpower that Wasn’t The Politics of Reform The Collapse of the Soviet Empire Contemporary Challenges Putin: President or Constitutional Czar? Future Prospects Eastern Europe: Two-Track Transition China: Police-State Capitalism Mao in Command Changing of the Guard China’s Pragmatic “Communism” Market-Oriented Reforms Expanded Personal Freedoms Political and Religious Repression New Social Disorders China as a Global Power: Rival or Partner?

Two Asian Tigers: Still Role Models? South Korea: Crisis-Prone but Resilient Taiwan: Asia’s Orphan State Latin America: Waiting for the Curtain to Go Up The ABCs of Reform: Argentina, Brazil, Chile Mexico

O

n December 31, 1991, the Soviet Union, one of two superpowers that had dominated world politics for nearly half a century, ceased to exist. The demise of this communist behemoth stands as one of the most momentous political events of the twentieth century. Although the end came as a surprise, it was not without warning signs; on the contrary, the Soviet Union had been going through a fascinating but turbulent period of change since 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev, the country’s charismatic leader, launched a series of bold reforms. The disintegration of the Soviet order ushered in a new era in world politics. It also drew attention to the problems facing Russia and Eastern Europe. As major actors on the world stage, Russia and China are featured in this chapter. In both the process of transition is incomplete, as we shall see. The transition of Communist systems actually started in China, not Russia, more than a decade before the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. In Russia, as we shall see, the reform movement got underway in the mid-1980s before the collapse of the Soviet state, faltered in the 1990s, and failed in the 2000s—a failure manifested in a recentralized political system and an economy precariously dependent on oil and gas exports. By contrast, China’s market-oriented reforms have transformed the economy while leaving the monolithic party-state system largely intact. Only in Eastern Europe has the transition from Communism to a post-Communist order resulted in a full-fledged systemic transformation—political, economic, and social.

The Collapse of Communism

The problems of transition in these countries are also, to some extent, problems of political and economic redevelopment. Transition and development (discussed in the following chapter) are closely related; the issues facing societies in transition intersect with development issues at many points. Moreover, as we will see, the whole concept of “states in transition” applies to many countries in virtually every region of the world today. Following a look at the problems facing the former communist states, primarily in Eastern Europe, we take a brief look at several Asian and Latin American countries in various stages of transition toward market-based liberal democracy.

THE COLLAPSE OF COMMUNISM What we once called the Communist world no longer exists; Communism as a political force on both the national and international levels has receded nearly everywhere in the world with a few notable exceptions. In 1988, before the end of the Cold War, fifteen states could be classified as Communist. One short decade later, the number had shrunk to only five or six states—China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, Vietnam, and perhaps Cambodia—each pursuing relatively independent policies. Today, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is Communist in name only; Vietnam is imitating China; Laos and Cuba are going nowhere (the United States established normal trade relations with Laos in 2005, but has yet to do so with Cuba); and Cambodia is a fledgling parliamentary democracy. Only North Korea remains an unreconstructed Stalinist state. Indeed, it no longer makes any sense to talk about a communist bloc. What happened? Eastern Europe abruptly abandoned Communist rule in 1989, ahead of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Thereafter, democracy and privatization (the process of turning formerly state-run enterprises over to the private sector) advanced rapidly in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, as well as in the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia). Romania and Bulgaria have followed suit, but at a slower pace. The former East Germany is a special case, having merged with West Germany in 1990. In Asia, Communist regimes have proven somewhat more resilient. The People’s Republic of China softened its totalitarian rule and liberalized its economy after Mao’s death in 1976. But it remains a repressive state by Western standards. It has continued to pursue market-friendly reforms, which have stimulated rapid economic growth, especially in its coastal regions. North Korea, true to its long-standing reputation for Stalinist rigidity, has displayed a familiar tendency toward xenophobia, extreme secrecy, and self-imposed isolation, even as its people have suffered famine and hardship. In Cuba, an aging Fidel Castro in failing health relinquished the presidency to his brother Raúl in 2008 but continues to hang on as Secretary General of the Communist party. As president, Raúl has avoided the incendiary rhetoric so characteristic of Fidel, but only time will tell whether Cuban policy will change enough to bring about a normalization in relations with the United States—an eventuality the new Obama administration would almost certainly welcome.

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RUSSIA: OLD HABITS DIE HARD

Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) A loose federation of newly sovereign nations created after the collapse of the Soviet Union; it consisted of almost all the republics that previously had made up the USSR.

As the 1990s began, the Soviet Union stood as one of the last of the world’s great empires (the United States and Communist China were two others). The Stalinist state that remained in place until 1991 displayed all the classic features of totalitarian rule, including centralized control over the armed forces, the media, and the economy; a dominant monopoly party; an official ideology; and a systematic program of terror against suspected political opponents and the mass murder of innocents deemed unworthy (or dangerous) by the regime. The story of how the Soviet Union emerged from the long dark winter of totalitarianism provides the essential background for understanding the nature of Russian politics today. A newly downsized Russian state emerged from the ashes of the extinct Soviet Union. The post-Soviet government, headed by Boris Yeltsin, appeared to represent a sharp break with the past, initially seeking to establish a constitutional democracy. It then created a very loose confederation, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which included Russia and the former Soviet republics minus the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). To understand what happened in Russia under Yeltsin, however, we need to go back one step to the period immediately preceding the fall, a time that changed everything— and nothing.

The Superpower that Wasn’t When Mikhail Gorbachev, at age 54, became General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1985, he faced daunting political and economic problems. Gorbachev realized the Soviet Union was falling behind the West and could not survive without radical reforms; and because the Communist Party exerted total control over the state and society, he made a fateful decision to reform Communism—in order to save it. From the time Lenin assumed power in 1917, the Soviet Union had featured a planned economy—also known as a command economy—in which all-important economic decisions (such as what and how much was to be produced and so on) were made at the uppermost level of the Communist Party. Competition, the pursuit of profits, and most forms of private ownership were forbidden as inconsistent with the tenets of Communism. This system of central planning succeeded in making the Soviet Union a first-rate military power, but at a crushing cost to the consumer economy, which was all but nonexistent. Grossly distorted budget priorities and mounting debt were disguised by artificial prices, press censorship, and secrecy. By the mid1980s, central planning had produced a stagnating economy. The Soviet Union was at a huge competitive disadvantage with industrialized democratic nations such as the United States, Japan, and the members of the European Union, and it was falling further behind all the time.1 Most Soviet citizens led relatively austere lives with few of the conveniences Westerners took for granted. Store shelves were often empty and spare parts

North Sea

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KRASNODAR 7 INGUSHETIA a STAVROPOL' 8 CHECHENIA ADYGEA 9 MORDOVIA KARACHAY-CHERKESSIA 10 CHUVASHIA KABARDINO-BALKARIA 11 MARI EL NORTH OSSETIA 12 UDMURTIA

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FIGURE 8.1

Russia: Old Habits Die Hard 223

224

nomenklatura The former Soviet Communist Party’s system of controlling all important administrative appointments, thereby ensuring the support and loyalty of those who managed day-to-day affairs. perestroika Term given to Mikhail Gorbachev’s various attempts to restructure the Soviet economy while not completely sacrificing its socialist character. glasnost Literally ‘‘openness’’; this term refers to Mikhail Gorbachev’s curtailment of censorship and encouragement of political discussion and dissent within the former Soviet Union.

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States and Economies in Transition

unavailable. According to one estimate, women spent an average of two hours a day, seven days a week, waiting in line to purchase the few basic goods available.2 By the end of the 1980s, an estimated 28 percent of the Soviet population lived below the official Soviet poverty line.3 In the realm of agriculture, Soviet economists estimated that about onefourth of all grain harvested each year was lost before it got to the market. As a result, meat and dairy consumption for the average Soviet citizen declined 30 percent in fewer than 20 years.4 While the Soviet economy decayed and the quality of life for the general populace deteriorated, growing social problems threatened the very fabric of Soviet society. Among the worst were alcoholism and corruption. Another major problem was a widening technology gap. Soviet managers had little encouragement to invest in new technologies (computers, cell phones, robotics), and the party feared (rightly, it turned out) that the coming Digital Age and Internet (already on the horizon in the 1980s) would jeopardize its information monopoly. At the root of most of these problems was central planning, which discouraged initiative. Plant managers and directors of government-run farms remained tied to a central plan that imposed rigid quotas on factory and farm production. Plan fulfillment was the highest priority for all Soviet economic administrators. The Stalinist system sacrificed quality for quantity. Because of relentless pressures to meet overly ambitious production quotas, managers often took shortcuts and cooked the books to conceal failures or paper over problems. The cynicism of the managers was matched by the low morale of the Soviet workers, who were underemployed, unhappily employed, or simply not motivated to work. The result was appallingly low productivity caused by the absence of dependable and efficient workers. Worker cynicism was reflected in popular Soviet sayings, such as “The party pretends to pay us, and we pretend to work.” This cynicism was fed by the hypocrisy of high party officials, who espoused egalitarian ideals but lived in secluded luxury while the proletariat they glorified had to stand in long lines to buy bread and other staples.5 A privileged, entrenched elite known as the nomenklatura occupied all the top positions in the Soviet system.6 It included members of the political bureaucracy (apparatchiki), senior economic managers, and scientific administrators, as well as certain writers, artists, cosmonauts, athletes, and generals who represented the Soviet state and enhanced its reputation. Their largely hidden world of luxury apartments, specialty shops, vacation resorts, hospitals, health spas, and schools stood in sharp contrast to the bleak existence of ordinary Soviet citizens and made a mockery of the “classless society” Marx had envisioned. This moribund system is what Gorbachev inherited in the mid-1980s. He faced a stark choice: push reforms or preside over the death of the Soviet state. In the end, he did both.

The Politics of Reform Gorbachev therefore undertook policies that became famous in the West as perestroika, restructuring, and glasnost, transparency. These, in turn, were to be accompanied by a democratization of the Soviet political system. Clearly, what

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Gorbachev had in mind was nothing less than a state-controlled revolution from above. Unfortunately, the revolution spun out of control. The goal of perestroika was to revitalize the ossified system of central planning. Gorbachev hoped to accomplish this ambitious goal by attacking the political and social causes of the country’s economic problems—that is, by reducing the power of the nomenklatura and the party apparatchiki while simultaneously improving the efficiency of Soviet workers. Ironically, either Gorbachev did not understand or he refused to face the need for radical change in the nation’s underlying economic structures. Hence, perestroika became a catchy political slogan rather than a coherent economic policy. By 1989, the Soviet economy was rapidly disintegrating, and within two years it had plunged into a depression. Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost constituted the most extensive relaxation of media censorship in Soviet history. For a time, this openness won popular sympathy for Gorbachev and distracted public attention from the dislocations resulting from economic reform. It also held a wide appeal beyond Soviet borders, making Gorbachev the darling of the world press and a popular figure in many Western countries. Despite its foreign policy advantages, however, glasnost was primarily an instrument of domestic policy. Its initial intention was to expose the official corruption and incompetence that Gorbachev blamed, in part, for the Soviet Union’s economic malaise. He wanted to shake the change-resistant Soviet bureaucracy out of its lethargy and goad the working class into working. But glasnost quickly assumed a life of its own. Previously censored books and movies flourished; the state-controlled mass media dared to criticize the government; newspapers and magazines published scorching articles challenging the official version of history and current events. The Soviet Union had transformed itself virtually overnight from a country that permitted no public dissent to one where Shown here visiting Finlad in 1989 with his wife, Mikhail Gorbachev instituted bold political and economic policies to reform communism and the Communist Party during his leadership from March 1985 until August 1991. Ultimately, these initiatives exacerbated the crisis of the Stalinist state and helped precipitate the downfall of communism throughout Eastern Europe.

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democratization Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of encouraging democratic reforms within the former Soviet Union, including increased electoral competition within the Communist party.

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glasnost was rapidly undermining the legitimacy of both the Communist Party and the political system that had long served as the instrument of its rule. Finally, Gorbachev also called for democratization of the political system, including elections that allowed voters a limited choice at the polls. These reforms, in effect, let the genie out of the bottle. The “genie” might be mob rule or popular democracy—which would it be?

The Collapse of the Soviet Empire Gorbachev’s efforts to reformulate the political and economic system of the Soviet Union failed. Virtually every social, political, and economic problem he inherited had worsened by the time he stepped down a little more than six years later. Popular expectations rose while living standards fell dramatically, creating a politically volatile situation. Galloping inflation and labor strikes, both previously unheard of, dangerously destabilized the Soviet state. As the end of the Soviet empire drew near, the so-called Nationality Question loomed ever larger. In 1991, the seventeen largest nationalities accounted for more than 90 percent of the Soviet population (about 294 million people). The majority Russians accounted for only slightly more than half the total. Some twenty ethnic groups numbered more than one million. Among the largest were the fifteen nationalities for whom the union republics are named, plus the Tatars, Poles, Germans, Jews, and others less familiar to the outside world (see Table 8.1).

TABLE 8.1

Major Nationalities in the Soviet Union at the Time of Its Demise (1989)

Nationality

Nationality

Percent of Total Populationa

1. Russian

50.78

11. Moldovan

1.17

2. Ukrainian

15.47

12. Lithuanian

1.07

3. Uzbek

5.84

13. Turkish

0.95

4. Belarusian

3.50

14. Kirgiz

0.85

5. Kazakh

2.84

15. German

0.71

6. Azerbaijani

2.38

16. Chuvash

0.64

7. Tatar

2.32

17. Latvian

0.51

8. Armenian

1.62

18. Jewb

0.50

9. Tajik

1.48

19. Bashkir

0.50

1.39

20. Polish

0.39

10. Georgian a

Percent of Total Populationa

The figures are adapted from the last official census of the Soviet Union. The former Soviet Union classified Jews as a nationality. SOURCE: Population Today, November 1991, Population Reference Bureau. Reprinted by permission. b

Russia: Old Habits Die Hard

In total, the Soviet Union encompassed more than 100 different nationalities, speaking some 130 languages. Historically, the Soviet government used force to assimilate non-Russian groups. Another primary instrument of state policy was the education system. All schoolchildren throughout the Soviet Union were required to learn Russian, ensuring that most non-Russians could speak the language fluently. Gorbachev’s reforms created a climate in which the non-Russian nationalities could dare to strive for self-determination and independence. Glasnost, in particular, encouraged local criticism of the government and the Communist Party. The independence movement surged in the Baltic States first. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, which had been independent for a time before they were seized by Stalin in 1939, pushed the pace of reform further and faster than Gorbachev intended. The Baltic States, led by Lithuania, were the first to break away. Nationalistic demonstrations, riots, and rebellions rumbled across the Soviet empire, as republic after republic declared its independence. In August 1991, a group of eight hard-line Communist Party traditionalists with ties to the army and the KGB (the Soviet secret police) staged a coup, which ultimately failed. Boris Yeltsin, the president of the Russian republic, saved the day, rallying demonstrators who had taken to the streets to fight for democracy. The Soviet Union ceased to exist on the last day of 1991; it was succeeded by the Russian Republic, a truncated version of the defunct Soviet state. As Russia’s first elected president, Yeltsin turned out to be a colorful but quixotic character, ill suited to run a country going through the transition from totalitarian tyranny to liberal democracy. His successor, Vladimir Putin, is the exact opposite: a no-nonsense political boss. Putin is immensely popular with the vast majority of Russians for precisely this reason (see Box 8.1).

Contemporary Challenges With three-fourths the landmass, about half the population, and approximately three-fifths the GNP of its predecessor, Russia is significantly reduced by any and all measures. However, it remains by far the world’s largest country, encompassing an area roughly twice the size of Canada, the United States, or China. Across this vast territory, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus all fell heir to the nuclear weapons the former Soviet government had deployed in the Soviet republics (SSRs). As a result, the world suddenly had several new nuclear powers; at the same time, the weapons heightened tensions among the newly independent nations. As a matter of policy, Russia sought to gather all the nuclear arms of the former Soviet state into its own arsenal. Both Ukraine and Kazakhstan promised to relinquish control of these inherited weapons, but before doing so, they sought economic and financial concessions from Moscow, as well as security guarantees from the West. By 1996, all nuclear weapons had reportedly been removed to Russia, including those in Belarus. The security of Russia’s huge arsenal of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction was also a matter of great concern in the West. The 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United

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Vladimir Putin: Russia’s “Black Belt” Tsar

When Vladimir Putin was elected to succeed Boris Yeltsin as Russia’s president, he faced three major problems: a sick economy, a society still riddled by corruption and violent crime, and a smoldering war in the breakaway republic of Chechnya. A former KGB agent with a Black Belt in karate, Putin is ruthless, tough-minded, and smart. Several examples illustrate his no-nonsense style of leadership: Putin withdrew from the START II treaty in June 2002, one day after the United States withdrew from the antiballistic missile (ABM) treaty.7 (SALT II was the successor to the original Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, or SALT I, between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1972, cutting the number and type of nuclear weapons each side could deploy.) In October 2002, when fifty Chechen rebels seized 800 hostages inside a Moscow theater, Putin ordered Russian special forces to move in, using poison gas to incapacitate the guerrillas. Nearly all the guerillas died, as well as 129 hostages. Putin backed the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan in 2001, but he sided with Germany and France against the United States in blocking UN Security Council endorsement of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In October 2003, Putin ordered Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the richest man in Russia at the time, arrested and jailed on charges of tax evasion. Khodorkovsky was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2005. However, critics suggest the move was political; Khodorkovsky had been a potential candidate for president. Putin won re-election in 2004 by a landslide. Under the Russian constitution, a sitting president can serve no more than two consecutive terms. In 2008, Putin’s protégé, Dimitry Medvedev, was elected to succeed his boss, winning about 70 percent of the popular vote with Putin’s endorsement. Medvedev then named Putin prime

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Vladimir Putin is Russia’s second president since the fall of Soviet communism. When Yeltsin named him premier in 1999, Putin was an obscure figure who had served for many years as a KGB recruiter. In 2001, this former Soviet spy became an important U.S. ally in President George W. Bush’s war on terror. However, relations soured after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and at the Munich Security Conference in February 2007, Putin bitterly denounced the United States for allegedly provoking a new global arms race.

minister—a convenient arrangement that honored the letter of the law but left Russia’s “Black Belt” Tsar firmly in charge.

Russia: Old Habits Die Hard

States raised new fears that some of these lethal materials, including anthrax, might fall into the hands of international terrorists based in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Economic Dislocations In the 1990s, the failing economy brought new hardships to the vast majority of Russians, who naturally blamed democracy for the deteriorating situation. Not a few looked back nostalgically to the “good old days” of Communist rule. Things went from bad to worse in Russia, with industrial production, retail sales, and national income plummeting and budget deficits soaring. By the middle of the decade, output in Russia had dropped by one-third.8 These economic failures were accompanied by severe and widespread inflation. President Yeltsin did not stay focused on the fundamental problems of managing an economy in the throes of transition. The basic elements of his reform program sounded good in theory, but their execution was half hearted. Despite progress in cutting inflation and stabilizing the ruble, the economy was still failing. Both GDP and industrial output continued to decline, if not as fast as before.9 Failure to crack down on organized crime was partially to blame, as was official corruption that, among other things, turned the privatization program into a bonanza for crooks. Rather than making the Russian people stakeholders in the promised new market economy, the government’s privatization plan allowed venal wheelers and dealers, operating behind the scenes and using political connections in the Kremlin, to manipulate the divestiture of state assets and thus gain control of huge chunks of the Russian economy. In this way, the sell-off of state assets at bargain-basement prices behind the smokescreen of privatization created instant multimillionaires, and even billionaires, while most Russians sank deeper into poverty. Among a host of other deficiencies, Russia lacked clearly defined stockholders’ rights, laws to encourage development of real estate markets, and a social safety net allowing enterprises to lay off workers and cut operating costs. Most Russians under Yeltsin perceived they were worse off with each passing year. One-fourth of the population, or 36.6 million people, were living below the poverty level; a decade later under Putin’s leadership, inflation was slowing (eventually stabilizing at around 12 percent), the economy was growing (6 to 7 percent annually), the ruble was stable, and the trade balance was strongly positive. At under 7 percent, unemployment was considerably lower than in France and Germany and slightly lower than the EU average.10 But there is less to the revival of the Russian economy than meets the eye. In fact, Russia’s economic growth can be attributed to a single factor: the steep rise in oil and natural gas prices on the world market in the post-9/11 period. As a major producer and exporter of fossils fuels, Russia was reaping windfall profits before the global recession drove world oil prices down in 2008.11 By becoming the world’s largest oil producer and second-largest oil and natural gas exporter, Putin’s Russia paid off its international debt and accumulated the world’s third-largest holdings of foreign currency.

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But Putin pointedly failed to use Russia’s energy-export windfall to diversify the Russian economy or to create a business environment attractive to foreign investors. The extreme dependence on energy exports put Russia’s economy in dire straits when world oil and gas prices collapsed and export revenues plummeted in 2008–2009. One lucky consequence was that the West’s fears of a resurgent Russia bent on reincorporating the former soviet republics—fears that were pushed to new heights after the Kremlin invaded Georgia in August 2008 (see below)—rapidly receded.

The wars in Bosnia and Chechnya are often called “dirty wars” because uniformed soldiers (not insurgents or “terrorists”) as a matter of strategy and policy deliberately attacked and targeted civilians. Such acts are outlawed under the rules and conventions of warfare going at least as far back as the Geneva Convention of 1864. No wars are civilized; the wars in Bosnia and Chechnya were particularly barbaric (hence the term “dirty”).

© GETTY IMAGES

Ethnic Conflict The Soviet breakup in 1991 was accompanied by civil war, religious persecution, and ethnic strife in many parts of the Old Empire. Russia remains an ethnically diverse state trying to overcome the powerful centrifugal force of conflicting ethnic groups, some of which have sought sovereign independence. Integrating these groups successfully into the Russian state remains unfinished business. Under the 1993 constitution, ethnic groups form the basis for the twentyone republics in the new Russian Federation (successor to the USSR). These federal units, similar to state governments in the United States, are represented as republics in the upper house of the Russian legislature. Yet no constitution can resolve the issue of ethnic tension within Russia—time, mutual respect, and economic success are among the ingredients in any recipe for long-term stable relationships between the dominant Great Russians and the nationalities on the periphery, both inside and outside Russia’s borders. The political problem posed by Russia’s ethnic republics came to the fore in December 1994, when Russia attacked Chechnya, a Connecticut-sized, ethnic Muslim republic within its borders, situated in the north Caucasus between the Black and Caspian seas. Chechnya had declared independence from Russia shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Determined to end its defiance, however, President Yeltsin sent Soviet troops to put down the revolt. In the

Russia: Old Habits Die Hard

ensuing war, Russian warplanes heavily bombed the Chechen capital of Grozny. Chechen fighters were highly motivated, whereas the Russian troops, reflecting widespread public skepticism (and perhaps mindful of Russia’s disastrous war against Afghanistan in the 1980s), were more reluctant to go into battle and suffered heavy casualties. Yeltsin sought to end the dirty war in Chechnya. A truce signed in late 1996 gave Moscow until 2001 to decide how to handle Chechnya’s claim to independence; it thus settled nothing. In 1999, when fighting broke out again, Yeltsin called upon his deputy, Vladimir Putin, to orchestrate a brutal crackdown on the rebels. Putin’s success made him a national hero to millions of Russian patriots. Ethnic tensions between Russia and many of the newly independent republics of the former Soviet Union raise a different set of problems. Thus, although Russia and Ukraine are both members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, they have sometimes been at odds. In December 2005, in the middle of winter, Russia threatened to cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine unless Ukraine agreed to a fourfold increase in gas prices. Ukraine balked. Under pressure from the EU and European heads of state, President Putin, who was also widely suspected of trying to interfere in Ukraine’s internal politics, agreed to a compromise. But Russia again cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine in the winter of 2008–2009. Tensions between Russia and Ukraine are based on history as well as economics. Ukraine, and specifically the city of Kiev, is the ancient birthplace of Russia. It is one of the largest countries in Eastern Europe, with a population of approximately 40 million, roughly the size of neighboring Poland’s population. Within Ukraine, situated on a strategic peninsula, is the Crimea, an important piece of real estate on the banks of the Black Sea. Crimea’s current inhabitants are Great Russians, who replaced the indigenous population after Stalin sent the Crimean Tatars (famous as formidable warriors) into internal exile to Siberia in the 1930s. A dispute in the mid-1990s over control of former Soviet naval facilities and forces at Sevastopol, a historic Crimean port city, arose from ambiguities and conflicting interests. Although it was resolved peacefully in 1997 (Russia got 80 percent of the fleet but conceded the port to Ukraine), it re-surfaced again in 2008 during Russia’s war with Georgia (see Box 8.2). Kazakhstan is another large former Soviet republic, now independent and home to a large Russian minority who make up nearly one-third of its population. The tension between them and the Kazakhs, just over half the population, raises the possibility of future conflict. Moldova, a state bordering Romania on Russia’s western border, is another case in point. In the 1990s, Russia’s support of internal territorial claims by ethnic Russians in Moldova (13 percent of the population) led to bitter dissension between Russians and native Moldovans (65 percent of the population). Kazakhstan and Moldova are but two examples among many. Troubled ethnic relations in the former Soviet republics are also mirrored by ethnic politics inside the Russian Republic. In 15 of the 21 ethnic republics in Russia today, the titular nationality is in the minority.12

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Russia’s War on Georgia

Russia’s military invasion of Georgia, a small country of less than 5 million on its southern flank, rekindled memories of the Cold War when the United States and the Soviet Union were bitter rivals. In happier times, the United States made a show of promising Georgia it would not stand alone as it embarked on the path of democracy. But when Russia attacked in August 2008, the United States was not in a position to do anything but issue a statement denouncing this act of aggression. The United States did not have the military or economic wherewithal to get into a shooting war with Russia on its own periphery in the fall of 2008. It would have been extremely risky in the best of circumstances, given Moscow’s huge nuclear arsenal, even if the United States had not been stuck in two quagmires—Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Georgia’s army of 30,000 was no match for Russia’s million-man juggernaut. Ironically, Georgia was desperately trying to get into NATO—one reason Moscow attacked. Most of the former Warsaw Pact countries are now members of both NATO and the European Union. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—like Georgia, former Soviet Socialist Republics—are also in NATO and the EU. Viewed from the Kremlin’s vantage point, this geostrategic encroachment on Russia’s periphery is a

Western provocation. So the attack on Georgia put the West on notice: No (more) trespassing! Nor was the war just about Georgia. It was also about control of vital oil and natural gas pipelines to the West, about Russia’s debut as a post-Soviet global power (which it clearly is by any geopolitical reckoning), and about drawing a line in the sand on Russia’s western and southern frontiers. Georgia always has been important to Russia because of its strategic position on the Black Sea, the gateway to the Mediterranean, and its proximity to Iran, Turkey, and the Middle East. What’s far more significant than Georgia, though, is Ukraine, a large country with a population of 46.5 million—larger than either Spain or Poland. By invading Georgia, Russia has also served notice that it will oppose Ukraine’s bid to join NATO and the EU by any and all means necessary. Meanwhile, Russia’s use of force against a sovereign state friendly to the West threatened to start Cold War II. As such, it made Russia appear once again in the guise of Public Enemy #1 in Europe. But words of wisdom are small consolation when one’s country is being bombed and foreign troops are streaming across the border. Ask any Georgian. SOURCE: Adapted from my op-ed article in the Kansas City Star, August 18, 2008, p. B6.

State Building Putin re-centralized government at great cost to Russia’s fragile democratic institutions. We can summarize the effect of his reverse reforms as follows: • A Tattered Constitution. Adopted in 1993, the Russian constitution strengthened the executive in relationship to the legislature. Putin shifted power even more decisively in favor of the president or prime minister. In so doing, he has stabilized the political system, but also set back the cause of Russian constitutionalism and respect for human rights, while complicating Russia’s relationships with Europe and straining its ties with the United States.

Russia: Old Habits Die Hard

• Feeble Parties and Fewer Elections. The Russian party system is highly fragmented. In the December 1995 election to the Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly, Russia’s national legislature, forty-two parties appeared on the ballot. As president, Putin placed formidable obstacles in the path of political parties and party leaders who dared to oppose his policies and abolished elections for regional governors altogether (these positions are now appointed by the president). • Organized Crime. According to one estimate, organized crime in the mid1990s employed some three million people and had infiltrated the Russian police and bureaucracy, as well as those of other republics. The Russian mob’s influence was everywhere; it intruded “into every field of Western concern, the nascent free market, privatization, disarmament, military conversion, foreign humanitarian relief and financial aid, and even state reserves of currency and gold.”13 Organized crime remains a major blight on civil society in Russia to this day. • Disrespect for the Law and the Police. The rise of organized crime, the emergence of localized political bosses, the prevalence of corruption, and a broad spectrum of social ills such as ordinary crime, prostitution, and drug abuse all eat away at the social fabric. Widespread lawlessness also reflects the Russian government’s inability to maintain law and order. One consequence of these problems is a disrespect for the very idea of law that, for good reason, has been called “Russia’s biggest blight.”14

Putin: President or Constitutional Czar? In August 1999, then-President Yeltsin named Putin to be his new prime minister. None of Yeltsin’s first four prime ministers had lasted long in office, so Putin’s sudden elevation to this post might not have been significant. But it was: eight months later Putin was the newly elected president of Russia. Putin quickly moved to put his personal stamp on Russia’s domestic and foreign policies. At home, he moved against Russia’s notorious “oligarchs” (wealthy tycoons who gained control over gigantic pieces of the old Soviet economy in the botched privatization program carried out during the Yeltsin era). Abroad, he gave Russia’s foreign policy a new look, strongly backing the U.S. campaign against terrorism in the fall of 2001. Putin also paid tribute to economic reforms, including changes in the tax laws and creation of a financial intelligence service to fight money laundering. Buoyed by high oil prices, the Russian economy revived (see Table 8.2). But the basic structures of Russia’s protectionist, cartel-dominated, red tape-ridden economy, including such key sectors as utilities, banks, and state-owned enterprises, remain largely unchanged. Nor has the political landscape changed fundamentally. Putin remains in charge—changing hats but little else as he became Russia’s prime minister rather than president. Not only has he eviscerated the independent news media; he also has turned to the so-called siloviki (antidemocratic hard-liners from the old KGB, police, and the army) to run the country.

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Duma Officially called the State Duma, it is the lower house of the Federal Assembly, Russia’s national legislature, reestablished in the 1993 constitution, after having been abolished in 1917. It comprises 450 members, half of whom are elected from nationwide party lists, with the other half elected from single-member constituencies. Federal Assembly Russia’s national legislature, a bicameral parliament, established under the 1993 constitution, comprising a lower chamber (State Duma) and an upper chamber (Federation Council).

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The independent press in Russia gets little or no protection from the state. Being an investigative reporter or a muckraking media personality can be dangerous. The mysterious poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in a London restaurant in November 2006 demonstrated to the satisfaction of many observers that the Kremlin under Putin had reverted to the cloak-and-dagger practices of the Soviet era. Litvinenko, who had defected to the United Kingdom six years earlier, was a former colonel in the Russian secret service (the FSB, successor to the KGB) and a vitriolic critic of Putin. He died on November 23, 2006, in a London hospital. A month earlier, Anna Politkovskaya, a crusading and often polemical Russian journalist and, like Litvinenko, a fierce critic of Putin, was shot dead in Moscow in what many believed to be a contract killing. Thus, long after the lifting of the veil of Communist rule, Russia remains a riddle to the West and the world.

Future Prospects Does Russia represent the remains of a great empire in decay or will it reemerge as a major world power? Is it unalterably authoritarian? The answer to the first question is probably “neither”—Russia will neither self-destruct as the Soviet Union did nor will it recapture the status of world-class superpower the Soviet Union achieved. The answer to the second question is probably “yes”—there is little reason to believe Russia’s political culture will change any time soon. Dissident journalist Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in the elevator of her apartment building in October 2006. No one has ever been charged with the murder, which appeared to be the work of professionals.

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Eastern Europe: Two-Track Transition

235

TABLE 8.2 Russian Economic Performance, 1992–2008 (% annual change)

GDP

1992

1994

1996

1998

−14.5

−12.6

−6.0

−5.0

9.0

4.0

6.4

7.5

6

202

21.8

82.0

20.2

14.0

12.7

9.2

14.1

Inflation 2323

2000 2002 2004 2006 2008

SOURCE: World Bank and The Economist (“Emerging Market Indicators”), July 1, 2000; December 7, 2002; March 27, 2004; February 19, 2005; and December 2, 2006. Data for 2008 from Economist Intelligence Unit estimate, The Economist, January 31, 2009, p. 101.

The very possibility of liberal democracy in Russia has always been, at best, an uncertain prospect, given centuries of despotism and centralized rule. Still, in the early 1990s, many dared to hope that Russia was finally shedding its authoritarian habits. By the late 1990s, however, that hope appeared distant, if not naive. A decade later, with Putin at still the helm, it appeared dead on arrival—a victim of an autocratic Kremlin boss who re-centralized the political system and restored order, but utterly failed to take advantage of windfall profits from Russia’s oil and gas exports to modernize and diversify the Russian economy. We turn next to a brief look at Eastern Europe, a region of nations in transition. No two countries have approached the problems of political and economic reform in exactly the same way, and there is a widening gap between the most and least successful countries.

EASTERN EUROPE: TWO-TRACK TRANSITION Without exception, the newly independent states of Eastern Europe were Communist-ruled during the Cold War era, which lasted for more than four decades. All were saddled with centrally planned economies patterned after that of the Soviet “Big Brother.” Just as central planning did not work in the long run in the Soviet Union, neither did it work anywhere else. But it is easier to demolish than to construct—for rebuilding, Eastern Europe had to look to the West. The West stood ready to help, but first the former Communist states would have to create democratic institutions and market-based economies. The boldest reforms were adopted in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Poland showed the way, launching “shock therapy” policies designed to create a functioning market and to privatize the notoriously inefficient state enterprises that were a legacy of Communist rule. Unlike the Soviet Union, Poland had never banned small-scale private enterprise, and a decade after its democratic revolution, private enterprise was flourishing as never before (with some two million registered businesses).

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Poland’s tough approach to reform yielded impressive results in the 1990s, when its economy grew faster than that of its ex-Communist neighbors, averaging over 5 percent a year between 1995 and 2000. Poland also managed to tame inflation, a major threat to social and economic stability throughout the region. As a direct result of these market-friendly reforms, Poland attracted infusions of foreign investment that were, in turn, a tonic to its reviving economy. But relatively high unemployment (still hovering near double digits in 2009) was a nettlesome issue, especially in a country where jobs had been guaranteed to all adults during two generations of Communist rule. A growing social disparity was also a problem, as the relatively poor rural population lagged behind the burgeoning urban middle class. Because Polish agriculture was never collectivized (as in the Soviet Union), many of Poland’s impoverished villagers still live and work on its two million family farms.15 Although polls show crime and official corruption have undermined public confidence in government, the Polish economy has continued to improve year after year, turning in steady growth rates (5–7 percent) with modest inflations (2–4 percent). The fact that Poland became a member of the EU in 2004—and is by far the biggest of the EU’s twelve new members—also bodes well for the future. In the Czech Republic, Prime Minister (now President) Václav Klaus extolled the virtues of the marketplace and implemented an ambitious couponredemption scheme that theoretically gave all Czech citizens shares of newly privatized (formerly state) enterprises. But the distribution was done without adequate safeguards and thus failed to accomplish one of its primary aims—to give Czechs a stake in the new market economy. In fact, crooks and insiders (a distinction without a difference in Czech politics) grabbed up the high-quality stocks, most of which never became available to the public, and used connections to get operational control of the “hottest” properties. Ironically, this bungled attempt at reform soured ordinary Czechs toward democracy and capitalism rather than solidifying popular support as it was intended to do. Inflation, fear of job losses, corruption in high places, a growing gap between the nouveaux riche and the majority, and a heightened awareness of how far behind the West Eastern Europeans in general—and Czechs in particular—had fallen all contributed to a deepening disillusionment. In the eyes of the people, the shady entrepreneurs and self-aggrandizing politicians became synonymous with “the system.” Despite popular dissatisfaction with “politics” and the pace of improvement in the general standard of living, the Czech Republic is again a true republic. (Czechoslovakia came into being after World War I as a full-fledged parliamentary democracy—the only instance of popular self-government in Eastern Europe prior to 1989.) In addition, the Czech economy, having stumbled along for most of the 1990s, made a relatively strong recovery following the recession of 1997–1999. Structural reforms (for example, in the banking sector) helped achieve this result. Voters strongly endorsed the Czech Republic’s entry into the EU in 2004, a move that opened Europe’s huge Single Market to Czech-built automobiles, armaments, machinery, and other exports and could well make the Czech Republic a magnet for foreign investment.

Eastern Europe: Two-Track Transition

In 2008, Czech GDP grew at a respectable rate of 4.2 percent; unfortunately, inflation climbed to 6.5 percent. The manufacturing-based economy was especially hard-hit by the global recession in 2008–2009—industrial output fell by over 17.4 percent in November 2008, the highest of any EU country. (Spain was close, but the overall drop in industrial activity for the EU as a whole was a less dramatic 7.7 percent.) Nonetheless, as in Poland, polls consistently show that after more than a decade of freedom and independence, many Czechs do not trust the government or politicians. And for good reason: the Czech political party system is fragmented, parliament is fractious, and coalition governments are unstable. In March 2009, the Czech Republic embarrassed itself in the eyes of Europe and the world when the government of Mirek Topolanek was forced to resign following a vote of no confidence—at a time when the Czech Republic held the six-month presidency in the European Council (the supreme decision making body of the EU). Thus, Topolanek was president of the EU when he was ousted as prime minister of the Czech Republic. In April 2009, a caretaker prime minister was named to replace Topolanek pending early elections in the fall, but he did not take office until May, so the country actually had two lame-duck prime ministers at the same time. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic remained the only EU member-state besides Ireland that had not ratified the Reform Treaty, which Václav Klaus outspokenly opposed. Despite the often farcical nature of Czech politics, however, the level of dissatisfaction among the rank-and-file is not high enough to prefer a return to the days of Sovietbacked Communist rule. Hungary experimented with economic reforms well before the fall of Communism. In 1968, the same year as the tumultuous Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia, when a reform-minded Communist Party leader named Alexander Dubcek called for “socialism with a human face” and led an inspired popular liberalization movement that was ultimately crushed by Soviet tanks, the Budapest government launched the New Economic Mechanism (NEM). The NEM, aimed at limited decentralization of the economy and other market-oriented reforms, was a promising experiment in the early going. Production of consumer goods (always a low priority in Soviet-type economies) rose, and the quality of life for Hungarians generally improved. But hard-line Communists at home and abroad (particularly in the Soviet Union) opposed these reforms, and in the 1980s, the NEM was abandoned. Even so, as the economy steadily declined, Hungary turned to the West for trade, aid, and investment. The liberalization that accompanied this policy included a new tolerance of private businesses and partnerships with foreign multinational companies. Thus, Hungary’s reform efforts—though limited in scope and scale by a combination of politics, ideology, and Soviet interference—gave it a head start when Communism self-destructed at the end of the 1980s. After 1989, Hungary’s popularly elected government accelerated the pace of free-market reforms. In particular, as the leading emerging market in the region, Hungary attracted more than half of all direct foreign investment in Eastern

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Europe, even though its population (about 10 million) was a mere 25 percent of Poland’s (42 million) and a tiny fraction of Russia’s (147 million). PostCommunist Hungary moved swiftly to break up and privatize its huge stateowned enterprises; by 1993, the private sector’s share of the GDP was about 50 percent. The pace of privatization slowed temporarily when the socialists gained a majority in the parliament in 1994, but the following year, the same parliament passed legislation to speed the sale of state-owned enterprises and to prepare to sell off public utilities and strategic industries such as steel and electricity. Despite these bold restructuring efforts, however, Hungary has suffered high levels of inflation and unemployment unknown in Communist times. In 2008, Hungary’s economy grew by less than one percent, inflation was over 6 percent, and unemployment was close to 8 percent. In 2009, the economy was in dire straits as demand for the country’s manufactured goods crumbled—exports account for about 80 percent of Hungary’s GDP and industrial output fell by almost 30 percent in February. Also, Hungary’s currency, the Forint, dropped sharply. Because it depends so heavily on exports to the EU (and especially Germany), Hungary was especially vulnerable as Europe and the globe sank into a severe recession in 2009. On the positive side, Hungary is now a stable parliamentary democracy. In the first three free elections after 1989, a different party won control of the government each time—a sign of party competition and political pluralism at work. Moreover, this frequent changing of the guard has led neither to sharp lurches to the Left or Right nor to political paralysis. Also, like Poland and the Czech Republic, Hungary joined the EU in 2004. Other former Communist states in Eastern Europe that have joined both NATO and the European Union include Slovakia, Slovenia, the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), Bulgaria, and Romania. Tiny Slovenia (population: 2 million) has outshined all the others, achieving a per capita GDP that puts it well ahead of the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary—and even one Western European country, Portugal. All have made—or are in the process of making—the transition from authoritarian one-party rule and Sovietstyle command economies to pluralistic representative democracy and market economies. The reward and incentive for these countries to institute sweeping reforms has been admission to NATO and the European Union. Among the countries expected to join the West in the near future are Albania, Croatia, and Montenegro. Serbia and Ukraine have expressed a desire to join both NATO and the EU as well. But the question of Kosovo’s independence stands in the way of Serbia’s joining the EU at this time, and Russia has threatened Ukraine with dire consequences if it joins NATO. In sum, Communism has largely disappeared from the map of Europe, although Communist parties (often with changed names) are still around. Free and fair elections are held nearly everywhere, and genuine parliamentary democracy is by far the most common form of government. We turn next to a look at the transition in Communist China, where political change has been set aside in favor of economic transformation. The results have been nothing short of spectacular, but less than satisfying in the eyes of the West.

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CHINA: POLICE-STATE CAPITALISM In the past three decades, China has transformed from an isolated pariah state with a dysfunctional command economy to a global power with a dynamic economy, achieving export-driven, double-digit growth rates year after year since the early 1990s. China’s economic “miracle” is the result of a vast supply of cheap labor, pragmatic policies devoid of ideological content, skillful diplomacy aimed at opening mass consumer markets in the West, and the creation of special economic zones (SEZs) to attract and protect foreign investment capital. The SEZs combine liberal foreign-ownership policies with generous tax incentives. It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery—25 years after China demonstrated the potential of SEZs to stimulate economic development and boost exports, India, Asia’s other demographic giant, decided to follow suit (see Chapter 9).16 But China, like India, remains a poor country compared to Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and its two largest trading partners, the United States and the European Union. And while most observers would agree it has shed its legacy of Maoist totalitarian rule (see Chapter 6), China continues to be a monolithic, one-party police state. The path to power for Mao’s Chinese Communist Party differed sharply from that of Lenin’s Bolsheviks. Because Mao’s victory followed a protracted guerrilla war against the Japanese and the Chinese Nationalist government of FIGURE 8.2 The People’s Republic of China: Note that many of China’s greatest cities are in the east; note where Taiwan is located; note also the close proximity of Japan to the Korean Peninsula.

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Chiang Kai-shek, the army played a much greater role in Mao’s theory and practice of revolution than in Lenin’s. When the Chinese Communists came to power in 1949, the army and the party were fused into a single organization. Acting as a virtual government, the army was charged not only with fighting but also with administration, including maintenance of law and order, construction and public works, management of the economy, and education and indoctrination. In effect, the army became the nucleus of the People’s Republic, the new government of China.

Mao in Command In the early 1950s, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was heavily dependent on political, economic, and military assistance from the Soviet Union, a dependency heightened by the Korean War (1950–1953) that saw U.S. military forces cross the 48th Parallel and advance almost all the way to the Yalu River— China’s border with North Korea. The USSR, ruled by the aging Stalin, insisted the fledgling Communist government in Beijing emulate the Stalinist model. Thus, the political structures of the Chinese state, as well as the thrust of Chinese economic and foreign politics, closely resembled those of the Soviet Union. Everything from collectivization of agriculture and a lopsided emphasis on industrial investment to the Soviet educational system was borrowed, almost without modification. The turning point came when Stalin’s successor, Nikita Khrushchev, made his famous speech at the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956, in which he denounced the crimes of Stalin and proclaimed the advent of peaceful coexistence with the West. From that point on, the Chinese Communists, under Mao’s erratic leadership, went their own bizarre way. The Great Leap Forward (1958) represented Mao’s declaration of independence from the Soviet model of industrial development. In place of the Stalinist emphasis on heavy industry, especially large-scale mining and metallurgical complexes, the Great Leap stressed decentralized industrial production that would take advantage of China’s greatest natural resource: human labor. Numerous small-scale backyard steel furnaces became the symbol of this laborintensive approach. Mao’s believed with the right mix of ideology and inspiration, the masses could and would bring about the revolutionary transformation of society he so ardently desired. Mao’s utopian obsession led to the launching of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1966, designed to utterly smash the party-state bureaucracy. For China, the Soviet system had become a model of counterrevolution.

Changing of the Guard The deaths of Chou En-lai and Mao Zedong, the People’s Republic’s two great founders, made the year 1976 a watershed in modern Chinese history. According to one China scholar, “Mao’s death marked the end of an era; what was not clear was who would lead China and in what direction in the era to come.”17

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Hu Jintao, who became Communist China’s top leader in 2002, was a protégé of his predecessor, Deng Xiaoping, China’s pre-eminent economic reformer; like Deng (and in sharp contrast to Mao), he is a pragmatist who places economic success above ideology.

After two years of halting reforms, the nation’s post-Mao leadership under the direction of Deng Xiaoping (who had twice been purged by Mao for his alleged lack of revolutionary zeal) “mounted a major campaign to abandon ideological dogma and to adopt pragmatism—symbolized by the slogans ‘practice is the sole criterion of truth’ and ‘seek truth from facts.’” Economic development replaced class struggle, and a welcome mat replaced the “no trespassing” sign that had impeded China’s trade relations with the West for nearly three decades. Banished were the mass campaigns, crash programs, hero worship, and ideological fanaticism that had been the hallmarks of Maoism. Expanding trade, especially with the industrial democracies, became a principal aim of Beijing’s diplomacy. Deng’s economic reforms—notably, the SEZs mentioned above— were gradually implemented between 1978 and 1982, as he carefully and patiently consolidated his power within the ruling politburo—the Kremlin’s supreme decision-making body. By the fall of 1982, the reform-minded Deng was in full command. Deng remained China’s paramount ruler until his death, at the age of 92, in early 1997. His successors—first Jiang Zemin and, since 2003, Hu Jintao—have continued Deng’s pragmatic political and economic policies.

China’s Pragmatic “Communism” The Communist Party continues to govern China. Party members, about 5 percent of the population, constitute a political elite that enjoys special

politburo A small clique that formed the supreme decision-making body in the former Soviet Union. Its members often belonged to the Secretariat and were ministers of key governmental departments.

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privileges—but the emergence of a class of nouveau riche entrepreneurs and a burgeoning middle class are changing the face of Chinese society, though with little impact on the political system thus far. High party ranking remains a prerequisite to the exercise of political power. Before 1978, Maoism, a radical peasant-based brand of Communism that glorified revolution as a form of moral purification, was the official ideology of China. After 1978, Deng’s pragmatic view prevailed—that economic growth, and not class struggle, ought to be the main measure of success for both the party and the state. In Deng’s own words, “It matters not if a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” No longer would the party invoke Marxist ideology to justify its programs or policies or to legitimize the party’s rule.18 A Communist Party that distances itself from Communism is not only a novelty, but also an anomaly—one that leads us to ask how long China’s leadership can continue the charade now that computers and the Internet have so greatly multiplied and diversified the sources of information available to the masses. At the same time, China’s engagement in the global economy has necessitated opening Chinese society to outsiders. Even so, while the world now has a window into China, the political process remains off limits and shrouded in secrecy.

Market-Oriented Reforms In the post-Maoist era, Beijing has boldly sought foreign loans and direct foreign investment, primarily from the West, thus violating a long-standing ideological taboo. The approach worked wonders; Western investment and loans began pouring into the country in the 1980s and continued thereafter, providing much-needed capital for China’s modernization drive (see Figure 8.3). At the same time, agriculture underwent de-collectivization—that is, a kind of re-privatization of farming. Under this system, the state makes contracts with individual households to purchase specified products; farmers can also sell produce in private markets. The reforms proved remarkably successful in boosting agricultural productivity. In industry and commerce, too, China has moved toward a greater reliance on market forces. One statistic is remarkably revealing. In 1978, there were no privately owned businesses in China; by 1995, approximately one-third of all businesses were privately owned (see Figure 8.4). The results of China’s agricultural and industrial revolution have been impressive. After decades of induced turmoil under Mao, China’s economy has revived. In fact, China was one of the world’s fastest-growing economies during the past two decades. By 2008–2009, when China’s economy (like everyone else’s) slowed in the face of a severe global recession, China boasted the third largest national economy in the world, behind only the United States and Japan. It was on a pace to overtake Japan in 2010. For all its recent success, China is still poor in terms of per-capita wealth. In 2009, China’s total GDP by one common measure was still smaller than Japan’s, and Japan’s per capita income was nearly twelve times that of China ($42,300 versus $3,600). Even so, during the 1990s alone, between 150 and

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FIGURE 8.3

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Foreign Capital Inflows to China, 1989–2006 (billions of U.S. dollars)

SOURCE: The Economist, February 22, 1997, p. 22; 2000 World Bank Atlas (Washington, DC: World Bank 2000), 56; World Bank, 2008.

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FIGURE 8.4 An Emerging Private Sector: Private ownership of business in China increased dramatically after Mao Zedong’s death in 1976. *Partly government owned SOURCE: Newsweek, March 3, 1997, vol. CXXXIX, no. 9, p. 27. The research is attributed to the Heritage Foundation and IMF, conducted by Anna Kuchment and Dane Chinni. Newsweek, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.

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sovereign wealth funds A state owned investment fund made up of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, precious metals, and property; such funds invest globally. China, for example, has invested huge sums in the United States via its sovereign wealth fund.

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200 million Chinese people, equal to half the population of western Europe, escaped debilitating poverty, according to some estimates. In addition, although the 800 million or so Chinese who live in the interior rural areas remain poor, farm incomes rose significantly after agricultural reforms were put in effect.19 Despite huge strides, China officially acknowledged that 80 to 100 million people were living in poverty in the late 1990s; other estimates, such as those made by the World Bank, placed the figure much higher at 350 million.20 One reason these numbers vary so much is that there is no universally accepted definition of poverty, and where the official “poverty line” is drawn can be (and often is) more a matter of politics than economics. But everyone agrees that by any measure, poverty in China—especially rural poverty—has been reduced by a huge margin in the last 30 years, and while it has not disappeared, it is rapidly receding. China has “witnessed the most astonishing economic transformation in human history,” according to The Economist. “In a country that is home to onefifth of humanity some 200 million people have been lifted out of poverty.”21 Exports continue to be a major source of China’s economic dynamism. By 2003, China’s trade surplus with the United States had surpassed Japan’s. The overall U.S. trade deficit with China alone accounted for about one-fourth of the total. By 2008, this imbalance had jumped from $124 billion in 2003 to $266 billion, and China was garnering the largest trade surpluses in the history of the world. This lopsided trade relationship is one indication that China’s currency (the yuan) is undervalued (making its goods cheaper, and thus more competitive, in foreign markets than they should be). Understandably, Beijing has resisted international pressure to revalue its currency. In fact, in early 2009 China’s Ministry of Finance issued a report arguing that the central bank should actually devalue its currency. Because its economy is extremely export-dependent, China was eager to counteract any fall off in global demand due to the worldwide recession—despite the fact that China reported a trade surplus of $39 billion in January 2009, the second highest on record. China’s huge trade surpluses have resulted in vast state holdings of foreign reserves, in so-called sovereign wealth funds that totaled more than $1.7 trillion in 2008. China has invested most of its vast foreign-exchange reserves in U.S. Treasury bonds and T-Bills, in the process becoming the U.S. government’s second-biggest creditor (behind Japan). As a consequence, the United States and China are now economic co-dependents: the United States provides the major market for China’s exports and China, in turn, flush with foreign reserves, finances a major part of Washington’s massive budget deficits. But this situation cannot last forever: the United States cannot continue living beyond its means, outsourcing and losing jobs to China while saving little or nothing for the future; and China cannot expect the U.S. consumer spending spree that has fueled the Chinese economy to go on indefinitely, while China continues to drag its feet in developing its own domestic markets. In other words, China cannot go on producing without consuming more and the United States cannot go on consuming without producing more—this is one of the lessons we ought to take away from the banking crisis and the deep global recession it triggered in 2008–2009.

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China’s Rise: Economic Miracle or Environmental Nightmare?

The following excerpt from an article by David Lynch describes warning signs that suggest the Chinese economy is on a collision course with the environment. If China’s rulers continue to ignore the environment, today’s economic policies aimed at maximizing current growth rates may, ironically, become a drag on tomorrow’s prosperity and social progress. Over the past two decades, China’s economy has grown at an average annual rate of more than 9%. But the economic cost of environmental harm, measured in public health, worker absenteeism, and remediation efforts, is becoming prohibitively high. “This miracle will end soon because the environment can no longer keep pace,” Pan Yue, deputy director of China’s State Environmental Protection Administration, told the German magazine Der Spiegel. Environmental injury costs China 8% to 15% of its annual gross domestic product, Pan said. In the north, encroaching deserts are prompting human migrations that swell overburdened cities. In the south, factories have closed periodically for lack of water, according to [Elizabeth] Economy [of the Council on Foreign Relations], who wrote a book last year on China’s environmental woes. The World

Bank estimates such shutdowns cost $14 billion annually in lost output. Since this article appeared, scientific evidence has mounted of global warming caused by excess carbon emissions released into the atmosphere. The international community has become increasingly alarmed about warnings that Earth is reaching a fateful tipping point—the moment when it will become impossible to reverse climate changes, and polar icecaps and glaciers will melt at an accelerating pace with disastrous consequences for the ecosystem. Meanwhile, in 2009 China and India—the two most populous countries in the world—were both continuing to build dozens of new carbon-emitting coal-fired power plants each year to supply electricity for construction, transport, and industry. SOURCE: From David J. Lynch, “Pollution Poisons China’s Progress,” USA Today, July 4, 2005 (electronic edition). For an in-depth analysis of this problem, see Elizabeth Economy, “The Great Leap Backward: The Costs of China’s Environmental Crisis,” Foreign Affairs, vol. 86, no. 5, September/ October 2007, pp. 38–59; see also, Carin Zissis and Jayshree Bajorie, “China’s Environmental Crisis,” Foreign Affairs, updated August 4, 2008 accessed online at http://www.cfr.org/ publication/12608/.

Beijing faces other economic challenges as well. Conspicuous income disparities exist for the first time since the Communist takeover in 1949. The coastal provinces of the east—Shanghai is a particularly striking example—are growing much faster than the rural provinces of central and western China and produce two to four times the income, according to official statistics.22 The costs of this rapid development include appalling air pollution in China’s teeming cities, rivers that run thick with silt, industrial waste and sewage, and scenes of great natural beauty lost forever to construction of dams and reservoirs needed for hydroelectric power generation to keep the engines of economic development going at full tilt (see Box 8.3).

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In sum, market-friendly reforms have produced a vibrant economy, rising incomes, and a new class of millionaires, but at the price of growing income disparities and immeasurable damage to the environment. In response to China’s turn toward a more liberal economy, the United States dropped its opposition to Chinese membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO). When China formally joined the WTO in 2001, the Economist asserted, “China’s accession to the WTO . . . will be its biggest step since Communist rule began more than 50 years ago toward the integration of its economic system with that of the capitalist West.”23

Expanded Personal Freedoms One mark of totalitarianism’s demise is that China “has become freer in terms of daily life for large numbers of people.”24 People can now change jobs, move from one part of China to another, exhibit greater individuality in dress and expression, and exercise free choice in such important personal matters as whom to marry and divorce—individual liberties unknown in Mao’s China. These new freedoms, however, stop far short of constitutional rights common in the West. For instance, couples are still limited by the government to having only one child. And, as we shall see, political and religious freedoms are nonexistent.

Political and Religious Repression

Democracy Wall A wall located in the heart of Beijing on which public criticism of the regime was permitted to be displayed in 1978. Tiananmen Square massacre In 1989, unarmed civilian workers and students marched in Tiananmen Square in Beijing to demand democratic freedom and government reforms. Army troops responded with force, killing 1,500 demonstrators and wounding another 10,000.

Despite liberalization in the economic and social spheres, political and religious persecution continues in China. Not long after the death of Mao Zedong, in 1978, a phenomenon known as the Democracy Wall captured world attention. On a wall in the heart of Beijing, opinions and views at variance with the official line—including blunt criticisms of the existing system and leaders—were displayed with the government’s tacit approval. But a government crackdown in 1979, complete with arrests and show trials, put an end to Beijing’s brief dalliance with free speech. A decade later, the Tiananmen Square massacre came to epitomize the Chinese government’s persistent hostility to human rights (see Box 8.4). Tiananmen Square continues to symbolize China’s persecution of critics and dissidents. Related issues are the harsh treatment of political prisoners, routinely forced to work as slave laborers in factories that produce cheap goods for export, and the persistent persecution of religious practitioners. To some extent, the government’s imprisonment of religious followers is a remnant of Marxism’s ideological mistrust of, and hostility to, religion. It represents the party’s continuing perception that religion poses a political threat to the continuity and health of the regime. For the most part, the government controls religion by licensing and monitoring churches, monasteries, mosques, and other religious institutions. Beijing has been particularly ruthless in Tibet, according to Human Rights Watch and many other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), where it has closed

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The Tragedy of Tiananmen Square

In May 1989, students and workers staged a mass march in Beijing to protest party privilege and corruption and to demand democratic reforms. The protest grew as throngs of demonstrators camped in Tiananmen Square, making speeches and shouting slogans. The rest of the world watched in rapt attention as the drama unfolded before Western television cameras. The fact that Mikhail Gorbachev, the father of “reform Communism,” visited Beijing that same month for the first Sino-Soviet summit in three decades only added to the sense of high drama. When unrest spread throughout the country, Beijing declared martial law, but to no avail.

Army troops entered the Chinese capital with tanks and armor on June 3; it soon became apparent that the show of force was not a bluff. The crackdown that ensued brought the democracy movement to a bloody end as hundreds, possibly thousands, of protesters were killed or injured and many more arrested. Security forces later rounded up thousands of dissenters, and at least thirty-one were tried and executed. The atrocities against unarmed civilians in the Tiananmen Square massacre proved that China was still, at its core, a repressive state.

Buddhist monasteries, jailed and executed worshippers, and exiled Tibet’s religious leader, the Dalai Lama.

New Social Disorders China suffers some of the same problems affecting Western democracy. Theft and robbery have become particularly common in cities, while drug-related crimes and prostitution are also on the increase—all representing the underside of China’s economic expansion.25 Corruption is also rampant. With the blurring of the line between the public and private spheres, and with vast amounts of money circulating through China’s burgeoning economy, business and politics have become tainted by routine acts of bribery, nepotism, and “unofficial favoritism.”

China as a Global Power: Rival or Partner? China is now a global power. With the world’s largest population, it has no difficulty finding conscripts for its armed forces, which total some three million troops. Since the late 1970s, China has sought to modernize its military capabilities. Today, it has the fastest-rising arms expenditures of any major world power. China also continues testing nuclear weapons and selling hightech armaments on the international market (in some instances, to customers the United States regards as a threat to peace and order).

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China’s growing military power has not gone unnoticed, especially in Asia.26 Thus, India’s reluctance to forgo its nuclear weapons programs can be traced, in part, to its distrust not only of Pakistan, but also of China. By the same token, Japanese leaders have viewed China’s military modernization with illconcealed alarm, and the Vietnamese have not forgotten the 1979 border war with China. The Philippines, long a staunch U.S. ally in the western Pacific, have an unresolved dispute with China over potentially oil-rich islands in the South China Sea. And then there is a longstanding dispute over Taiwan (see below): Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province of China, while the United States continues to back Taiwan’s independence. Periodic Chinese naval exercises have reinforced this point, although Taiwan has continued to hold firm, buttressed by the U.S. Navy. But the meaning of China’s emergence as a global power is far from certain. One thing is clear: China continues to face huge challenges at home and to present huge challenges abroad.

TWO ASIAN TIGERS: STILL ROLE MODELS? China is not the only country in Asia with a dynamic economy in recent times. South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia all compete with Japan—and now China—for export markets. Unlike China, they have also taken steps toward political liberalization.

South Korea: Crisis-Prone but Resilient The economic transformation of South Korea, from a poor country dependent on agriculture to a modern industrial state powered by a technologically advanced manufacturing sector, was complete by the turn of the twenty-first century. South Korea’s per capita national wealth (GDP) was roughly 5 times mainland China’s and twenty times that of Pakistan in 2008. To put South Korea’s achievement in even better perspective, South Korea’s GDP per capita is nearly double that of Chile, currently the richest country in Latin America, and three times larger than that of Brazil, the region’s largest country. Still, South Korea lags well behind the two poorest countries in Western Europe, Greece and Portugal. It has come far in the half-century since World War II and the Korean War left its economy in a shambles and its people traumatized and destitute. But it has a long way to go to catch up with Japan. Indeed, Japan’s GDP per capita (estimated at roughly $39,000 in 2007) is three times larger than South Korea’s, putting Japan’s economy in the same league as those of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. In the 1990s, huge industrial conglomerates and largely unregulated big banks dominated South Korea’s economy. These special interests had become so powerful and entrenched as to stifle competition. Although Asia’s financial

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crisis of 1997–1998, known as the Asian flu, did not start in South Korea, it had a devastating impact there. Big banks had been lending money to big business without regard to the underlying financial condition of the borrowers. This situation, as well as the general need to revitalize the country’s economy, compelled South Korea’s popularly elected president to undertake aggressive state intervention—not to put the government in control of the economy but to give greater play to free-market forces. Seoul launched a program of bold reforms in the late 1990s designed to resuscitate the economy after it contracted by over 6 percent in 1998. The reforms proved to be a tonic: Although the country experienced a recession in 2003, South Korea’s economy grew at an average annual rate of 4.4 percent in the decade 1995–2005. To what extent was this second transition political as well as economic? No doubt politics played an important role. Korea’s political traditions are authoritarian. North Korea has been Communist-ruled since World War II, while South Korea, a close ally of the United States, is anti-Communist. Even so, South Korean “democracy” was little more than a façade for a pro-Western police state until 1997, when Kim Dae Jung became the first opposition candidate ever

FIGURE 8.5 South Korea: Note the vulnerable geostrategic location of the captital, Seoul, perilously close to the Demarcation Line (border zone) with South Korea’s archenemy, North Korea.

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Asian flu A term used to describe the widespread financial turmoil in Asian stock markets, financial institutions, and economies in 1997.

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elected in South Korea. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for his valiant efforts to improve relations between the two Koreas. But South Korea’s democracy is still relatively fragile. Kim Dae Jung’s successor, Roh Moo Hyun, won the 2002 presidential election but immediately faced a recalcitrant legislature controlled by opposition parties. Dissension within the ruling party led to a split, weakening it badly in the run-up to parliamentary elections in April 2004. In these tumultuous circumstances, Roh Moo Hyun called for a referendum on his presidency, giving rise to speculation that without a strong popular mandate he might resign. In March 2004, the National Assembly, in a recriminatory and unprecedented move, impeached him. After a 63-day hiatus, the Korean Constitutional Court overturned the impeachment action and reinstated Roh, thus ending a perilous political crisis in one of East Asia’s pivotal states. Business executive and former mayor Lee Myung-bak won the December 2007 presidential election and was inaugurated on February 25, 2008. Although Korea remains a divided country, South Korea has made the transition from an authoritarian state with a democratic veneer to a political system based on regular elections, civilian authority, and the rule of law.

Taiwan: Asia’s Orphan State Taiwan is another of Asia’s success stories, but it exists in a kind of diplomatic twilight zone. For more than three decades, despite determined efforts by the People’s Republic of China to isolate it on the global stage, Taiwan has managed to prosper. Taiwan became an independent state after World War II when the Chinese Communists, led by Mao Zedong, defeated Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang. Until 1972, the United States recognized Taiwan as the legitimate government of China, although it was clear the Communist regime in Peking was in control of the mainland. In 1972, the People’s Republic of China replaced Taiwan at the United Nations, and the United States decided to “derecognize” Taiwan in order to restore full diplomatic ties with Beijing for the first time since 1949. The decision was a devastating blow to Taiwan. Although it has remained independent, it no longer enjoys diplomatic recognition by other sovereign states and is no longer a member of the United Nations. The reason for this unique state of affairs is that the People’s Republic of China has successfully pressed its claim that Taiwan is part of China, that there is only one China, and that Beijing is its capital. Nonetheless, Taiwan—officially the Republic of China– continues to enjoy the military protection and diplomatic goodwill of the United States, as well as close economic ties. Taiwan’s economy is one of the most dynamic in Asia, outpacing even South Korea’s. If Taiwan were in Europe, it would rival Portugal and Greece and would outrank nearly all the EU’s new members, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. Its economic success is nothing new, but its movement toward liberal democracy is. In 1988, Lee Teng-hui became the first native Taiwanese leader to assume the office of the presidency, and in the 1996 election he became the first popularly elected president in Taiwanese history. Lee instituted sweeping political reforms

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during his 12-year tenure, continuing a process initiated in the mid-1980s by his predecessor, Chiang Ching-kuo (Chiang Kai-shek’s son). In 2000, Taiwan’s voters elected Chen Shui-bian president—the first time ever that the Taiwanese government was not headed by the leader of the Kuomintang. With the formation of the Kuomintang-led Pan-Blue Coalition of parties and a Pan-Green Coalition led by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, politics in Taiwan has become polarized. The Pan-Blue Coalition favors eventual Chinese reunification, while the Pan-Green Coalition favors an official declaration of Taiwan independence. In September 2007, the Democratic Progressive Party approved a resolution asserting Taiwan’s separate identity from China, expressing a desire to become a “normal country” under a new constitution, and calling for general use of “Taiwan” as the island’s name. Chen assumed office pledging to clean up government. But his tenure was marred by allegations of corruption that came against a background of public discontent over a slowing economy and legislative gridlock. Chen and several family members allegedly embezzled millions of dollars while he was in office, charges that led to a high-profile trial in March 2009. If convicted, Chen faces life in prison. The Kuomintang increased its majority in Taiwan’s parliament in January 2008, and its nominee Ma Ying-jeou won the presidency in March of that year, taking office in May. Ma’s campaign platform promised more robust economic growth and better ties with the People’s Republic of China.

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Former president of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian, was elected on a promise to root out corruption in government, but now stands accused of stealing public funds.

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LATIN AMERICA: WAITING FOR THE CURTAIN TO GO UP Whereas Asia’s transitional states started with economic reforms, Latin America’s led with political change. Democracy has finally taken root, but most countries in Latin America still have not found a recipe for economic revitalization. The states of Latin America (formerly colonies of Spain or Portugal) gained independence in the 1820s—long before Europe’s colonial empires were dismantled elsewhere. With few exceptions, military-bureaucratic rule was the norm in Latin America until quite recently. Only in a few countries, such as Colombia, Venezuela, and Costa Rica, had popularly elected civilian government ever succeeded. The wave of liberalizing reforms that swept across Latin America in the 1980s ushered in a whole new age in the region’s history and opened a fresh page in its politics.

The ABCs of Reform: Argentina, Brazil, Chile In the 1980s, one Latin American military dictatorship after another stepped aside in favor of a democratically elected civilian government. Today, virtually every government in the region qualifies as a liberal democracy. What drove these regime changes was the need for economic reforms, evidenced, above all, in the huge foreign debts many Latin American countries had amassed. The burden of these debts, combined with outmoded economic structures and uncompetitive (protected) industries, high inflation, mass unemployment, widespread poverty, and gross inequality between the rich and poor, plunged the region into a crisis of self-confidence and under-consumption. Millions of people, especially campesinos (peasants) in rural areas, continue to struggle to survive at a bare subsistence level. Chile has led the way in reforming its economy. Although in most of Latin America political change preceded economic reforms, Chile instituted market reforms before it democratized its political system. Under General Augusto Pinochet, who seized power in a bloody coup in 1973 by overthrowing the elected Marxist government of Salvador Allende, was one of the harshest military dictatorships in the region. During Pinochet’s long rule, more than 3,200 people were executed or disappeared. Yet despite this reign of terror, the Chilean economy—spurred by market forces and a cozy relationship with the United States—performed remarkably well. Chile is now the most prosperous country in South America, and despite a corrupt civil service and deep social divisions, its economy continues to grow. Exports, a major factor in this success story, rose sharply in subsequent years. In addition, Chile signed free-trade agreements with the EU in 2003, and similar agreements with the United States and South Korea went into effect in 2004. Pinochet gradually eased his iron grip on the Chilean political system in the 1990s. Today, Chile holds free elections and civilians run the government. In 2006, Michelle Bachelet, running as the candidate of the Socialist Party of Chile, won in a run-off to become Chile’s fourth elected president since the end of the Pinochet era. Chile is set to hold presidential elections again in 2009. A

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© GETTY IMAGES

Michelle Bachelet, elected president of Chile on the Socialist Party ticket in 2005–2006.

leading candidate to succeed Bachelet is the man she narrowly defeated in the 2005 presidential election, billionaire businessman Sebastián Peñera, leader of the opposition Alianza coalition. In Brazil, the generals finally relinquished control of the government in 1985. Three years later, the country adopted a new constitution that provides for a direct election of the president. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso was an economist by training who tried to reform and restructure Brazil’s economy. Despite his best efforts, Brazil continued to be plagued by heavy external debts, chronic budget shortfalls, extensive rural poverty, and glaring inequalities. Brazil’s current president is Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, a charismatic union leader and reformer known simply as “Lula” to millions of Brazilians. Lula campaigned for the presidency promising to tackle the country’s problems. In office, he has tried to balance two competing needs: economic reforms and social justice. The voters rewarded Lula’s efforts by re-electing him to a second term in 2006. Bureaucratic obstruction, corruption, poverty, illiteracy, and inequality remain major obstacles to a Brazilian economic miracle. But Brazil has a lot going for it. Measured by both population and land mass, it is the fifth-largest country in the world. Measured by GDP at purchasing-power parity, it ranked as the ninth-largest economy in the world in 2008. Brazil now has a large, diversified service sector and modern industries including automotive, aeronautical, and electronics. Argentina’s military rulers bowed out in 1982 after the country’s humiliating defeat by the British in the Falklands War. Argentina was then the richest country in South America in per-capita GDP, but in the years that followed, corrupt politicians and economic mismanagement reduced its economy to ruins.

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FIGURE 8.6 Brazil: With the exception of Ecuador and Chile, every country in South America borders on Brazil, the fifth-largest country in the world by total land mass.

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To hold down inflation and budget deficits, the government had little choice but to adopt unpopular policies, including high taxes and spending restraints. This policy of fiscal austerity, in turn, led to rising unemployment and social unrest. But the government feared that if it relaxed fiscal discipline, foreign investors would turn away. This dilemma led to a political crisis in 2001 as the slumping economy went from bad to worse. With the country on the verge of economic collapse, popular anger boiled over. Argentina became the scene of widespread riots and looting. Then it defaulted on its $155 billion foreign debt payments—the largest default of its kind in history. One president resigned, another could not calm the storm; finally, in 2003, Néstor Kirchner, the governor of Santa Cruz, was elected president. Kirchner vowed to reform the courts, police, and armed services and to prosecute perpetrators of the dirty war (see Box 8.5). Argentina’s economy rebounded after 2001, growing at an impressive rate of 8 percent a year under Kirchner’s guidance. In March 2005, Kirchner announced the successful restructuring of the country’s debt. In January 2006, Argentina paid off its remaining multi-million IMF debt ahead of schedule.

Latin America: Waiting for the Curtain to Go Up

BOX 8.5 FOCUS ON

255

Argentina’s Dirty War

Following a military coup in 1976, Argentina’s junta (ruling clique) declared martial law and began the “dirty war” to restore order and eradicate its opponents. No one knows or will ever know for certain how many people perished in this brutal campaign of repression, but the Argentine Commission for Human Rights charged the junta with 2,300 political murders, over 10,000 political arrests, and the disappearance of 30,000 people. Blanket amnesty laws protected the perpetrators for many years. In July 2002, former junta

leader Leopoldo Galtieri and forty-two other military officers were arrested and charged with the torture and execution of twenty-two leftist guerrillas during the country’s seven-year military dictatorship (1976–1983). In June 2005, the Supreme Court ruled the amnesty laws unconstitutional. The following year, numerous military and police officials went on trial. But it was too late to save the victims or to find any trace of the “disappeared.”

The problems facing Brazil and Argentina are fairly typical of the entire region. In Latin America, political reform toward democratization has proven considerably easier than economic reform and revitalization, as attested to by the left-wing governments in Venezuela, led by Hugo Chávez, and in Bolivia, led by Evo Morales. Both countries are examples of a transition away from the market economy model. The reasons are many and varied; the most intractable problems, however, are essentially social and cultural. Latin American society has long been exceedingly elitist and unjust. Inequalities are so great and wealth so highly concentrated that most people do not have enough purchasing power to be “consumers” in any meaningful sense of the word. Chávez was re-elected president of Venezuela in 2006. In 2007, he proposed a package of sweeping reforms as part of a constitutional revision, including an end to presidential term limits, greater state control over the central bank, wider state expropriation powers, and public control over international reserves. These proposed changes were approved by the National Assembly but ultimately rejected by a narrow margin in a referendum held in December 2007.

Mexico Last, we turn to Mexico, the United States’ “distant neighbor” to the south.27 Mexico is a good example of the historical contradiction found in so many Latin American countries—a romantic attachment to democratic ideals coexisting with an authoritarian regime disguised as a republic. On paper, Mexico has been a liberal democracy since World War I. In reality, however, there has rarely been anything resembling genuinely competitive elections in Mexico—until 2000. Finally, after decades of one-party rule under the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Mexican voters were given a real

Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) The dominant political party in Mexico from 1929 to the present. The PRI had never lost an election until 2000, when Vicente Fox of the National Action Party won the presidency.

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National Action Party (PAN) The main opposition party in Mexico; the PAN’s candidate, Vicente Fox, was elected president in 2000. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Agreement signed in 1994 by the United States, Mexico, and Canada that established a compact to allow free trade or trade with reduced tariffs among the three nations.

CHAPTER 8 States and Economies in Transition

choice. The result was a bombshell: opposition candidate Vicente Fox, representing the National Action Party (PAN), won in a runoff election. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) boosted Mexico’s economic prospects in the 1990s, but internal market reforms had been halfhearted, at best, due to Mexico’s inefficient state-owned companies (for example, PEMEX, the oil monopoly), entrenched interests, and a corrupt bureaucracy fearful of losing its privileges. Membership in NAFTA gave Mexico easy access to U.S. markets, but it also gave the United States leverage to pressure the Mexican government into accelerating economic reforms. President Fox came into office vowing to do just that. It would not be any easier in Mexico than elsewhere in Latin America, but Mexico had to agree if it wanted to compete as an equal NAFTA partner with the United States and Canada. The 2003 national elections produced no clear majority in Mexico’s federal legislature—for the third time in a row.28 President Fox’s efforts to reform Mexican government and economy were effectively blocked. In 2006, the PAN candidate, Felipe Calderón, was elected president in the closest Mexican election ever, with a .58% lead over a center-left opponent. Calderón pledged to fight crime and corruption. If history is any guide, his campaign slogan, “Clean hands, firm hands,” will become grist for the mill—for comedians and cartoonists. The portrait of official corruption and economic mismanagement that have dogged efforts to boost living standards in Mexico fits many other countries in Latin America as well. When people do not have good jobs or benefits or steady income, they lack the kind of security we tend to take for granted. Without a circulation of wealth throughout the whole society, it is difficult, if not impossible, to complete the transition from a rural-based, slow-growth, inward-looking protectionist economy to a modern, urban, market-based, mass-consumption, export-oriented economy. The latter appears to be Latin America’s destiny, but for the region’s impoverished masses, it is taking way too long to get there. In sum, Latin America has made a turn toward political pluralism, but the transition is both ambiguous and incomplete. For the vast majority of Latin Americans, the promise of a better life is still an empty one.

GATEWAYS TO THE WORLD: EXPLORING CYBERSPACE www.valley.net/˜transnat This site, called “Russia on the Web,” provides quick, easy access to all sorts of information on Russia, past and present, categorized by subject matter. www.praguepost.com An English-language newspaper published in Prague; a good source of current information on news and views in the Czech Republic and other Eastern European states.

Summary

www.chinasite.com This site contains a comprehensive list of Web links and online sources of information on China. www.kimsoft.com/korea.htm This site is self-described as a nonpartisan “educational web” devoted to providing accurate information on politics and society in the two Koreas. www.economist.com/countries/Taiwan Features point-and-click access to The Economist’s recent articles on Taiwan, as well as a country fact sheet, the most recent economic forecast, and so forth. http://lanic.utexas.edu/ This is the Latin American Information Network site maintained by the University of Texas. Lots of links. It helps to read Spanish and Portuguese, of course, but at many of the links are in English or can be clicked into English. http://pdba.georgetown.edu/ The Political Science Database of the Americas maintained by Georgetown University. Essential for students and scholars doing research on Latin America.

SUMMARY With the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, Communist rule ended nearly everywhere in the world. Nonetheless, a few exceptions remain, including China, Cuba, and North Korea. The collapse of Communism brought the problems of transition in the former Soviet-bloc states to the fore. Other countries launched major political and economic reforms in the 1990s, including South Korea and Taiwan in Asia and Argentina, Brazil, and Chile in Latin America. The Soviet political system was an outgrowth of the Stalinist totalitarian model. In trying to reform and restructure this system, Mikhail Gorbachev followed in the footsteps of an earlier Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev. In the Soviet system, the Communist Party ruled, and a person’s ranking in the party was the best indication of that individual’s political power. When Gorbachev rose to the top post in the Communist Party in 1985, he faced both acute economic problems and associated social problems, each related to the failure of central planning. Gorbachev’s reforms proved inadequate to save the former Soviet Union. His successor, Boris Yeltsin, failed to guide Russia through a smooth transition. His successor, Vladimir Putin, inherited a mess—economic dislocations, ethnic fragmentation, and poorly established state institutions. Putin turned out to be a decisive leader who was twice elected by large majorities but has ruled as a traditional strong Russian boss.

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China instituted major free-market reforms and downplayed much of its Communist ideology after Mao’s death, but remains a country headed by a single party that brooks no political or religious dissent. As China modernizes its armed forces and attempts to become a world power, it faces increasing social problems as well as economic and border tensions among its provinces. India, South Korea, and Taiwan are three other examples of Asian societies in transition. All three countries made the transition to market-based (though semi-protectionist) economies first, but have more recently instituted meaningful political reforms. The transition process in Latin America is the reverse of the pattern found in Asia. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico are four key countries in the region. Except in the case of Chile, political reforms (aimed at establishing liberal democracy) in these countries came before economic reforms (aimed at creating a more competitive domestic market). In Venezuela and Bolivia, the transition process has gone against market reforms—a reversal of what has happened elsewhere in the region and world. The extremely unequal distribution of wealth in Latin America remains a barrier to both reform and development.

KEY TERMS Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nomenklatura perestroika glasnost democratization Duma

Federal Assembly politburo sovereign wealth funds Democracy Wall Tiananmen Square massacre Asian flu

Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) National Action Party (PAN) North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. What problems did the Soviet Union face in 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power and how did Gorbachev respond? With what consequences? 2. “One of the most important questions facing Russia today is whether it can become a stable democracy.” What do you think? Explain. 3. What countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America have made the most successful transitions so far? Explain your choices. 4. Comment on the economic transition in China since Mao’s death. What reforms did Mao’s successors institute and with what results? 5. Compare and contrast the transitions in Eastern Europe on the one hand and Latin America on the other relative to: (a) economic reforms; (b) political stability; (c) the rule of law; and (d) human rights. 6. Compare and contrast the transitions in Asia on the one hand and Latin America on the other relative to: (a) economic reforms; (b) political stability; and (c) the rule of law; and (d) human rights.

Recommended Reading

7. What region of the world has experienced the most success in making the transition from dictatorship to democracy in the past two decades? Justify your view. 8. Has Russia or China been more successful in making the transition from a centrally planned economy to a market-oriented economy? Compare and contrast the way the two countries have approached problems and assess the economic reform strategies of each. Which country has had a better outcome so far? What is the evidence?

RECOMMENDED READING Baker, Peter, and Susan Glasser. The Kremlin Rising: Putin’s Russia and the End of the Revolution. New York: Scribner, 2005. A highly readable account of Russian politics in the Putin era written by two former Washington Post bureau chiefs. Bernstein, R., and R. H. Monroe. The Coming Conflict with China. New York: Knopf, 1997. A warning about the dangers posed by China’s rapid rise. Camp, Roderic et al. Politics in Mexico: The Democratic Transition, 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. A rich introduction to Mexican politics that continues to withstand the test of time. Goldman, Marshall. Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Argues that Russia has become an energy superpower and explores the implications and consequences. Author also notes the inherent dangers, for Russia and the world, of Russia’s extreme dependence on a single export to sustain its otherwise bleak and weak economy. Kynge, James. China Shakes the World: A Titan’s Rise and Troubled Future—and the Challenge for America. New York: Houghton Miffiin, 2006. A treasure trove of information and insight into contemporary China by a former Financial Times bureau chief in Beijing. Lucas, Edward. The New Cold War: Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. A timely and well-constructed study of a resurgent post-Soviet Russia, originally published before world energy prices plummeted in 2008, but quickly revised and updated. Malia, Martin. The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917–1991. New York: Free Press, 1994. Views the actions of the USSR as directed by utopian ideology, not by an effort to overcome historical backwardness. Page, Joseph. The Brazilians. Boston: Addison Wesley, 1996. Everything the reader wants to know about Brazil (and quite possibly more), this book is slightly dated now but continues to paint a vivid picture of Brazilian culture, politics, economics, and history. Politkovskaya, Anna. Putin’s Russia: Life in a Failing Democracy. New York: Henry Holt, 2004. Reprinted in 2007 in paperback (Owl Books) after the author, one of Russia’s best-known dissident journalists, was murdered in what appeared to be a contract killing. This book is a no-holds-barred attack on Putin’s allegedly authoritarian policies, official corruption, and the Kremlin’s brutal conduct of the war in Chechnya. Preston, Julia, and Samuel Dillon. Opening Mexico: The Making of a Democracy. New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2005. A good read by two former New York Times Mexico bureau chiefs. Shirk, Susan. China: Fragile Superpower. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. One of the best new books on contemporary China. The author gives an insider’s view of the challenges facing China’s current generation of leaders. A sobering and realistic treatment from cover to cover. Wilpert, Gregory. Changing Venezuela by Taking Power: The History and Policies of the Chavez Government. New York: Verso, 2006. The title captures the book’s contents. There are lots of recent books about Chávez in English, many highly critical; this one, by a freelance journalist and former Fulbright scholar in Venezuela, is readable, well informed, and strikes a better balance than some.

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Developing countries have one foot in the modern world and one foot in traditional society. Rapid social and economic change is what the Western world calls progress. But throughout much of the non-Western world such change can be highly disruptive and is often accompanied by rising political instability. Overpopulation contributes to problems such as global warming, pollution, and pandemics, which also pose a threat to developed countries—and greatly complicates the search for solutions.

The Other World Development or Anarchy? Classifying Developing Countries Understanding Developing Countries The Legacy of Colonialism Political Development: Four Challenges Democracy and Development The Correlates of Democracy The Strategy of Development Africa: Democracy’s Dustbin? The Development Steeplechase Development and Conflict: Deadly Diamonds Development and Ethnicity: Deadly Differences Nigeria: World’s Poorest Oil-Rich Country India: Elephant or Cheetah? Sri Lanka: Sinhalese versus Tamils Development and Identity: Paradise Lost Development and Poverty: How Green Is the Revolution? When Development Fails: The Lessons of Darfur Dysfunctional States Somalia Sierra Leone Afghanistan Zimbabwe Overdevelopment: The Enemy Within

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U developing country Term used loosely to denote any country that has not achieved levels of economic prosperity and political stability found in North America, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia (particularly Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore); in general, a country where the ratio of population to land, jobs, and other factors (private capital, infrastructure, education, etc.) is unfavorable and where political stability, public services and individual safety are lacking. Developing countries are found mainly in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America and are characterized by high levels of unemployment, widespread poverty and malnutrition, highly restricted access to education and medical care, official corruption, and social inequality.

ntil recently when we looked at the world beyond our shores we saw not one world, but three. The First World, the West, was epitomized by the United States and included rich countries with stable societies and well-established democratic political institutions. The citizens of these fortunate states were free to criticize the government, but the vast majority were generally content. By contrast, the Second World of Soviet Russia and Eastern Europe was bleak and repressive; the people of these “captive nations” were downtrodden and deprived but did not dare to dissent. In this convenient if oversimplified model, the former colonial areas that did not belong in either the First or the Second World were lumped together as the Third World—the “underdeveloped” or “less-developed” countries. Eventually, it became politically incorrect to use such pejorative terms. Today, we often use the term developing countries to refer to the former colonies—never mind that all countries are developing, no matter how rich or how poor. Indeed, if some countries are not developed enough to sustain themselves, other countries are, arguably, not sustainable for the opposite reason: development driven by the latest advances in science and technology has given rise to unanticipated and perhaps insoluble problems. This chapter focuses on the problems arising in the context of too little development too late, rather than too much too soon. Developing countries by definition display all or most of the following features: endemic poverty; ethnic, religious, or tribal conflict; widespread illiteracy; political turmoil; and glaring inequalities. Although the picture is changing in much of Asia and, to a lesser extent, in Latin America, most sub-Saharan African nations continue to face great obstacles on the path to full political, economic, and social development. In the worst cases, the economy goes into a tailspin, the government collapses, societies erupt, and entire populations are plunged into anarchy. In the 1990s, this chilling possibility became a reality in places like the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and the Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast); more recently, civil violence has engulfed Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Somalia. In 2009, Pakistan, a big country (population: 170 million) of incalculable strategic importance and located in one of the most volatile regions of the world, appeared dangerously close to the political boiling point. Pakistan’s per capita GDP in 2008 was roughly $900 (purchasing power parity of $2,700), lower than India’s and roughly one-tenth that of New Zealand or South Korea. (Purchasing power parity, or PPP, in essence equates incomes and prices in other countries with the US$. If a US$ at the going exchange rate buys twice as much in Country X as it does in the United States, Country X’s PPP will be twice what its nominal GDP is. Thus PPP is actually a much more meaningful number than nominal GDP. Obviously, people making, say, $2 a day in the United States could not survive. But $2 can keep a family from starving in many of the poorest developing countries.) With few exceptions, endemic poverty is the root cause of the worst problems facing most developing countries—some 3 billion people, almost half the world’s population, live on less than $2.50 a day (see Figure 9.1). According to the World Bank, the poorest 40 percent of the world population accounts for 5 percent of global income; the richest 5 percent account for three-quarters. According to UNICEF, some 25,000 children die every day due to poverty. About two-thirds of the 27–28 percent of all children in developing countries

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FIGURE 9.1 Percent of People in the World at Different Poverty Levels, 2005 How many people in this world are poor? The answer depends on who is counting and how national governments and international organizations define poverty. At $1.00 a day “only” about 880 million people were poor in 2005; but if we draw the poverty line at $2.00, that number climbs to 2.6 billion. SOURCE: World Bank Development Indicators, 2008.

100%

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Poverty Line (USD Dollars a Day at 2005 Purchasing Power Parity) Numbers inside bars are world population at that indicator, in billions Below the poverty line

Above the poverty line

who are stunted or underweight due to chronic malnutrition live in South Asia or sub-Saharan Africa—two of the most conflict-ridden regions on the planet. Nearly one billion people entered the twenty-first century unable to read or write, but the correlation between poverty and illiteracy is just part of the story. In developing countries unemployment is the norm and only the most fortunate few have access to a health clinic or doctor. Preventive health care is also beyond reach. The lack of mosquito nets is a major reason why there are half a billion new cases of malaria and as many as 2 million deaths, mostly children, in developing countries each year. Add an estimated 50–100 million cases of dengue fever and approximately 25,000 deaths annually, and the magnitude of the problem of poverty becomes all too apparent.1 World poverty, of course, raises moral issues, but this chapter is predicated on two political questions. First, what are the causes of poverty and instability in developing countries? Second, is a world divided into rich (“us”) and poor (“them”) sustainable—otherwise put, can the problems of poverty be contained or will they inevitably spill over? A look at the context of politics in the so-called Third World will shed light on the extreme challenges these countries face.

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CLASSIFYING DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

Third World Collectively, the developing nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, most of which were once European colonies; Third World nations tend to be poor and densely populated.

poorest developing countries (PDCs) The 20 or so countries with the lowest per capita income in the world; all are located in sub-Saharan Africa with the exceptions of Afghanistan and Nepal.

During the Cold War, developing nations were also called “the South,” which highlighted the great disparities between the industrially developed states in temperate climates (North) and the less-developed states in tropical and semitropical zones (South). According to a view known as neo-colonialism, the rich nations of the North continued to exploit the poor nations of the South even after the latter gained independence in the post-World War II period. This view was promulgated by several prominent Third World figures in the 1950s and 1960s. Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, for example, popularized it in a book entitled Neo-Colonialism, The Last Stage of Imperialism published in 1956. According to neocolonialism, the great and growing disparity between the world’s rich and poor was an open invitation to a North–South conflict. But in the ensuring decades this dire prediction did not come to pass. It now appears that lumping developing nations into one category was an oversimplification that obscured more than it explained and that the imagined solidarity among the former colonies does not exist (and never did). Too, the problems of economic and political development seem more often rooted in internal than external circumstances, and economic performance and political stability vary greatly throughout the developing countries. The North–South distinction was thus flawed from the start. As we know, the People’s Republic of China, formerly among the poorest countries, has emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies (see Chapter 8), as has India in recent years. In both countries millions are still poor, but hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty. The poverty rate in China alone has fallen by over 600 million in the past two decades, accounting for roughly 90 percent of the total reduction in world poverty. India, too, has made major strides in alleviating poverty and creating the conditions for sustainable growth, as we’ll see below. What exactly does the term developing mean in a global economy undergoing such rapid change? For better or worse, the yardstick is a Western measure of economic and political success, a Western way of looking at development rooted in the Western experience. That does not make it good or bad, right or wrong, but it does raise questions about its applicability and acceptability outside the West. In the poorest developing countries (what we will call PDCs), the vast majority still do not enjoy access to education, jobs, health care, or any of the other good things in life that are the hallmarks of modernity in the West. Moreover, few PDCs have governments that are accountable, stable, and clean (as opposed to corrupt). When we in the West say a country is “developing,” we are usually thinking of a PDC, and what we mean is that it is not yet truly modern—that is, resembling the Westernized world. Westerners tend to assume that as, or if, these countries develop, they will look increasingly like us—urbanized, secularized, materialistic, and technology-dependent—and will want what we want.

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UNDERSTANDING DEVELOPING COUNTRIES Developing nations defy simple generalizations. There is no easy way to categorize countries that account for more than half the world’s surface and hold about 85 percent of the world’s population. With a few notable exceptions (such as Japan and South Korea), we can classify most states in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America as developing countries; however, we find most of the PDCs in South and Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, although some are in Latin America and the South Pacific. Developing countries come in all shapes and sizes. Some are huge—Brazil has a territory of 3 million square miles (larger than the continental United States) and a population of 160 million; India’s territory of 1 million square miles supports a population of more than 1 billion. Others are tiny—for example, Barbados in the Caribbean (territory, 166 square miles; population, 252,000) and Kiribati in the Pacific (territory, 266 square miles; population, 61,000). The Pacific island of Nauru wins the prize: It has 8,000 people living on 8 square miles of land. Nauru is small but not poor, thanks to a brisk trade in phosphate exports. Most of the poorest developing economies depend primarily on agriculture. PDCs are often dependent on a single commodity or raw material for export, but a few, such as the oil-rich states of the Persian Gulf—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—rely largely on a single natural resource, as does Russia, a country much poorer than Saudi Arabia and the others. Russia fits the definition of a developing country better than they do. The developing nations—especially the PDCs—have the world’s highest population growth rates. Between 1969 and 2009, the world’s population more than doubled to 6.7 billion. As Figures 9.2 and 9.3 show, population growth rates

FIGURE 9.2 World Population Growth Rates, 1950–2050 SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base, December 2008 Update.

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have been steadily declining since the 1960s, but the world’s total population has continued to climb, more than doubling from 3 billion to 6.7 billion and heading for 9 billion by 2050. Population pressure places onerous burdens on economic, social, and political structures in many poor countries, but comparisons can be misleading and often yield surprises. One of the highest birth rates in the world (3.42 births per woman of child-bearing age) occurs in the Gaza Strip, one of the most wretched places on earth. Arab countries generally have higher birth rates than Asian or Latin American nations. Lebanon’s population was growing faster than Mexico’s in 2008. Today, the only other region of the world with birth rates in the range of 3–4 percent is sub-Saharan Africa. In France, for example. the growth rate is 0.57, in the United States 0.97. Although much higher than in Europe or North America, India’s birth rate (1.58) is considerably lower than that of many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, while China’s is about the same as France’s (and lower than in the United States). Asia, the most densely populated region of the world, has about 57 percent of the world’s population but only about 18 percent of its landmass, much of which is arid or mountainous. Apart from Asia (and with a few exceptions, such as Egypt, whose population is clustered around the Nile River), population density in developing countries is relatively low. Africa’s average population density is only 24 per square kilometer, as opposed to India’s 296, the United

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Kingdom’s 646, Japan’s 880, and Singapore’s 5,571. Africa also has more arable land per capita than any other developing region. Of course, developing countries are not the only places where social, economic, and political development is occurring. Indeed, both development and decay are constants in this world. But, as we noted earlier, development takes place unequally; some nations, such as Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burundi, Chad, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Malawi, Burma, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and Sudan, are extremely poor and mired in misery. Note how many of PDCs on this list (the “poorest of the poor”) are located in sub-Saharan Africa. Why are poor countries poor? We turn next to a consideration of this question.

THE LEGACY OF COLONIALISM

© REUTERS NEWSMEDIA, INC./CORBIS

Only 23 countries among the current United Nations membership were independent in 1800. More than half these states were in Europe, with Afghanistan, China, Ethiopia, Japan, Iran, Nepal, Oman, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States rounding out the list.2 Since then, the number of independent states has increased more than eightfold and now stands at 192. World War II (1939–1945) was a watershed, because it led to the rapid deconstruction of the European colonial empires (see Box 9.1). Most of the countries existing today came into being during this recent period, and all but a few were developing countries. Also, the breakup of the Soviet Union led to the creation of some 25 new independent states in Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia, and Central Asia by 1994.3

To some extent, ethnic warfare between the Hindu Tamils and Buddhist Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, which began in 1983 when Tamil rebels demanded independence for the Sri Lanka northeast, reflects the imposition and policies of Britain’s colonial rule. Ethnic strife is an alltoo-common legacy of colonialism and remains a problem for many developing nations.

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BOX 9.1 SPOTLIGHT ON

The Age of Imperialism

FIGURE 9.4 The World in 1914: Note how many European countries, including small countries such as Belgium, Denmark, and Holland (the Netherlands), had far-flung colonial empires at the beginning of the twentieth century. Note also that these empires encompassed nearly all of Africa and much of Asia but had all but disappeared from Central and South America.

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(Continued)

A new wave of European colonial expansion occurred in the second half of the nineteenth century, sometimes called the Age of Imperialism. Earlier in that century, popular revolutions in the Americas against England, Spain, and Portugal had led to disillusionment with empires and colonies. Industrialization diverted attention from external expansion in favor of internal development, and the new emphasis on free trade removed much of the rationale for global empire building. British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli expressed the tenor of the times in 1852. “These wretched colonies,” he said, “will all be independent too in a few years and are a millstone around our necks.” But as industry grew, Europe’s economic and political leaders began to seek new sources of raw materials and new markets for their products. After 1870, free trade gave way to protectionist policies, and soon a race for new colonies began (see Figure 9.4). Various theories defending colonial expansion were expounded. Alfred T. Mahan’s

geopolitical concepts were used to “prove” great powers could not survive without overseas possessions. Charles Darwin’s concept of the survival of the fittest was used to “prove” colonialism was in accordance with the inexorable laws of nature. Rudyard Kipling wrote about the “white man’s burden” of spreading civilization to a benighted world. Even U.S. President McKinley claimed God had spoken to him on the eve of the SpanishAmerican War (1898), commissioning the United States to take the Philippines and Christianize “our brown brothers.” By the end of the nineteenth century, all Asia and Africa had been colonized. Even China had lost its sovereign status: It was subjugated through a series of treaties that gave various European powers special rights and prerogatives. Africa in 1914 was under the colonial sway of no fewer than seven European nations—Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. In fact, only two independent nations remained—Ethiopia and Liberia.

For centuries, the great powers of Europe competed for colonial holdings, ruling and administering over weaker and technologically less-advanced peoples and territories located in faraway places around the globe. These colonial empires were a source of great prestige and wealth. In the nineteenth century, European powers scrambled to colonize Africa. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Holland, Italy, Spain, and Turkey all possessed overseas colonial empires (see Box 9.1). This European intrusion—which came to be known as colonialism or imperialism—became synonymous with subjugation and exploitation in the minds of the indigenous peoples. Colonialism did include Europeans dominating native peoples, and it was based on implicit or explicit notions of racial superiority or religious zeal (or both). However, there were great differences in the methods and means employed by the colonial powers. For instance, the British approach was far milder than Spanish colonial rule, which was notorious for its rapacity and cruelty. The Portuguese and French tried to assimilate colonized peoples. France even granted Algerians seats in the national legislature and positions in the

colonialism The policy of seeking to dominate the economic or political affairs of underdeveloped areas or weaker countries (see also imperialism). imperialism A policy of territorial expansion (empire building), often by means of military conquest; derived from the word empire.

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BOX 9.2 FOCUS ON

Never Ending Talk: The Doha Round

In 2001, the 150-member World Trade Organization (WTO) focused on agricultural protectionism in the Doha Round of trade negotiations. The developing countries (the G33 nations), many heavily dependent on agricultural exports, feared rising protectionist sentiment in the West would cut off vital markets. Therefore, the G33 nations urged the United States and Europe to eliminate or greatly reduce tariffs and farm

nonviolent resistance A passive form of confrontation and protest; also called civil disobedience at times.

Doha Round The trade negotiations within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), formerly the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). G33 A group of 33 developing countries that attempt to coordinate trade and economic development policies.

subsidies. But for political reasons—mainly the influence of powerful farm lobbies—the talks stalled. In July 2008 it appeared a compromise agreement was finally in the works. But the talks broke down and protectionism was once again on the rise following the near-collapse of the global banking system in the fall of 2008. The rich debate; the poor wait. Some things never change.

national cabinets. The Dutch in Indonesia allowed native rulers to remain in power. Great Britain pursued both strategies, relying on local authorities to maintain law and order and allowing natives to pursue careers in public administration, attend British schools and universities, and enter the professions.4 Nonetheless, the idea of being governed by a distant country was repugnant to most colonial peoples. In many instances, they finally gained independence by resorting to various forms of violence. In India, however, Mahatma Gandhi led a nationwide mass campaign of nonviolent resistance (satyagraha), a strategy later adopted by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the United States. (Ironically, both Gandhi and King were assassinated.) Colonialism’s legacy remains controversial. Europeans did introduce elements of modernization, including modest advances in health (hospitals), education (schools), and transportation (roads). But any gains often came at a high price for the native peoples—including disruption of traditional ways of life and epidemics caused by the introduction of European germs into populations with no resistance.5 The extent to which developing nations after independence continued to be exploited by rich Western countries is debatable, although with the ending of the Cold War this issue faded into the background. Today, trade issues top the political agenda in relations between the rich and poor countries. Although agriculture constitutes only 8 percent of the world’s total merchandise trade, it is this segment of the market that is most important to poor countries and most distorted by protectionist policies of rich countries (see Box 9.2). The consequences of colonialism continue to disrupt the contemporary world. Colonial empires were created without regard to the preexisting ethnic identities, territorial boundaries, or loyalties of native populations. When the European powers withdrew, they typically created a crazy quilt of new states with borders that made no sense, because they cut across traditional religious, ethnic, and tribal territorial lines. (Iraq is a prime example.) Chronic political instability, coups, revolutions, civil wars, and even genocide—these are bitter

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fruits of colonialism. Simply listing some of the developing countries that have been wracked by conflict in recent years proves the point: Afghanistan, Angola, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Congo (formerly Zaire), Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Iraq, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and Sri Lanka. The fragility of these societies has led to dire warnings about the “coming anarchy” in Africa and elsewhere.6 But perhaps raising the specter of anarchy is too pessimistic, although Somalia, to cite one example, has existed in a state of anarchy for nearly two decades. Pakistan is another extremely fragile country in 2009—one teetering on the edge. Except for the presence of Western military forces, anarchy would also be a distinct possibility in Iraq and Afghanistan.

POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT: FOUR CHALLENGES What is political development? Rich countries often display certain common traits: a stable government, a merit-based civil service system, basic public services (police and fire protection, education, health, and sanitation), and legal structures (law codes and courts). All these traits are typically lacking in poor countries. Imagine growing up in a society where not only schools but also drinking water and basic sanitation do not exist. How can people who have no money, no police protection, and who cannot read or write lift themselves out of poverty or demand decent government? By its very nature, the development process is destabilizing. It is therefore no great surprise that governments in developing countries are often authoritarian, prone to coups, and beset by crises. Poor countries typically face four fundamental developmental challenges: nation building, state building, participation, and distribution.7 The first and most basic challenge is nation building—the process by which all the inhabitants of a given territory, regardless of individual ethnic, tribal, religious, or linguistic differences, come to identify with the symbols and institutions of the state and to share a common sense of destiny. The countless conflicts in Africa and Asia in the post–World War II era testify to the extreme difficulty (if not impossibility) of artificially “building” something as natural as a nation. Having a charismatic leader present at the creation is a key variable in the initial nation-building stage (try to imagine the founding of the United States without George Washington). Notable Third World examples include Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser (who ruled from 1954 to 1970), Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta (1964–1978), India’s Jawaharlal Nehru (1947–1964), Indonesia’s Sukarno (1945–1967), and Libya’s Muammar el-Qaddafi (still in power). Flags and celebrations also help instill a sense of national identity, and threats from a neighboring state—real, imagined, or manufactured—can galvanize unity, at least until the perceived danger subsides.

political development A government’s ability to exert power effectively, to provide for public order and services, and to withstand eventual changes in leadership.

nation building The process by which inhabitants of a given territory— irrespective of ethnic, religious, or linguistic differences—come to identify with symbols and institutions of their nation-state.

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state building The creation of political institutions capable of exercising authority and allocating resources effectively within a nation.

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The second challenge, state building, is the creation of political institutions— in particular, a central government—capable of exercising authority and providing services throughout the length and breadth of society. A functioning state bureaucracy promotes economic development and social unity by such mundane means as creating the infrastructure (roads, bridges, telephone lines) necessary for an integrated national economy. To achieve this, the government must be capable of levying and collecting taxes. But in countries with traditional economies based on subsistence agriculture, there is often little or nothing to tax, which leads to a vicious cycle that can only be broken with infusions of foreign capital (trade, aid, and investment). However, foreign investment (an external variable) depends on political stability (an internal variable). It turns out that in developing countries, there are all sorts of vicious cycles. A third challenge facing developing countries is participation. For new societies to prosper and grow economically, the people must be actively engaged in the development process. This kind of mobilization gives rise to a political dilemma: As people become more actively involved and feel the effects of government (good and bad), they begin to demand a greater voice in determining who governs and how. But what if rising expectations strain the capacity of the state to respond? Hence, the challenge of participation is how to harness popular energies without setting in motion the forces of political disintegration or revolution? A fourth major development challenge is distribution to reduce the extreme inequalities that often characterize traditional societies. Extremes of wealth and poverty can easily lead to a pervasive sense of injustice and, in turn, to mass revolt (see Chapter 14), as Marxism’s popular appeal in the Third World during the Cold War demonstrated. In some cases, Third World governments have attempted to address the challenge of distribution through land reform, but often only half-heartedly. Readjusting tax burdens and instituting income redistribution are two other obvious approaches to this problem, but the cost of Westernstyle social welfare programs is prohibitive for most developing countries.

DEMOCRACY AND DEVELOPMENT As we have seen, political development and popular participation often go hand in hand. But not all forms of popular participation are bottom-up (democratic); some are top-down (coercive). The latter are associated with authoritarian or totalitarian regimes. Democratic states are, by definition, limited in what they can do by constitutions, laws, and public opinion. For this reason, democracy and development often do not easily coexist, and dictatorships have been (and still are) all too common in the Third World. To say that democracy is a sign of development is true, but it begs the question: what explains development? In fact, democracy is a sign of wealth. Not all democracies are rich (although most are), nor are all rich nations democratic (although again, most are). But there are very few examples of democracy and poverty co-existing for very long.

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The Correlates of Democracy One useful way to gauge a developing nation’s potential to achieve democracy is to focus on democratic correlates. Where these correlates exist in the greatest number and measure, the probability of democracy is greatest; conversely, where they are largely absent, democracy has the smallest chance of succeeding.8 Major economic correlates include: • National Wealth. Prosperity generally correlates with democracy. Conversely, poverty is not conducive to democracy. But if democracy is a luxury poor nations cannot afford, how do we explain India, which has been democratic, extremely diverse, and very poor since independence? • A Market or Mixed Economy. Market economies allow both public and private ownership of the means of production and distribution. They also have the flexibility to combine elements of a market economy with varying types and degrees of governmental intervention. Most important, however, is what such economies do not allow: Large-scale centralized state planning of the economy is excluded, and economic decisions, especially those about the production and distribution of products and services, are left primarily to private enterprises and consumers. • A Middle Class. This correlate stresses not the amount of wealth in a nation but rather its distribution. A sharp class division with no “buffer” between the very rich and the very poor is not conducive to the success of representative democracy. • The Internet. Access to knowledge and information has always been important to economic growth and development; in the age of globalization, access to the Internet is essential. Significantly, freedom of communication is also a political correlate of democracy. Other political correlates include civilian control over the military, a strong independent judiciary, and the existence of a differentiated civil society (civic clubs, trade unions, business organizations, and the like).9 Cultural correlates are needed as well: tolerance of diversity, respect for the rule of law, and belief in democracy. Finally, history and geography also matter. Democracy has a better chance of succeeding in countries with previous democratic experience. Having democracies in neighboring states also appears to be an advantage. In general, the greater the distribution of wealth and education in a given society, the more likely that the seeds of democracy will sprout and freedom will flourish.10

The Strategy of Development Which comes first, democracy or development? The stunning success of China in reducing poverty argues for a strategy of economic reforms first—indeed, civil rights are hardly a top priority for people who are starving, sick, or homeless.11 A vibrant economy is far more likely to have an immediate impact on the quality of life, social services, infrastructure, and educational opportunity than, say, free elections. The reforms necessary to spur economic development inevitably have spillover effects on society and the political system. Thus, privatization and foreign

democratic correlates A condition or correlate thought to relate positively to the creation and maintenance of democracy within a nation.

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investment give rise to a nascent middle class. To be competitive, it is necessary to cultivate a professional class with the same type of educational opportunities and financial rewards. To gain access to foreign markets, developing countries face pressures to open up its their own markets. Western products and services—from music to fashion—give rise to individualism, materialism, and a desire for freedom of expression, especially among the youth. In these and countless other ways, market-oriented economic reforms impart a bias toward democratization. Where such reforms bring new hope and prosperity, they help ensure that if and when democracy finally arrives, it does so without plunging society into a state of anarchy.12

Africa: Democracy’s Dustbin? Between 1974 and 1990, more than 30 countries in southern Europe, Latin America, East Asia, and Eastern Europe replaced authoritarian with democratic governments. One noted observer wrote that it was “probably the most important political trend in the late twentieth century.”13 Everywhere, that is, except Africa. Then, in the early 1990s, a democracy wave rolled across sub-Saharan Africa, where at least nine countries—including Benin, Cape Verde, and Gabon in West Africa—held free elections, in most cases for the first time ever.14 It was South Africa that witnessed the most stunning changes, however, as black majority rule supplanted apartheid (white-supremacist rule). Democratic reforms were changing the face of politics in Benin, Botswana, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Namibia, and Sao Tome as well during this time.15 Elsewhere in Africa, however, things fell apart. In 1993, Nigeria’s military rulers rescinded election results that displeased them. Côte d’Ivoire’s government did the same. Elections in Kenya, the Cameroon, and Gabon were marred by irregularities and corruption. Rwanda was the scene of genocidal violence in 1994. In 1996, military governments in Chad, Gambia, and Niger rigged national elections to achieve the outcomes they desired. During the 1990s, Somalia sank deeper into chaos and anarchy. Bloody civil wars wrought havoc in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) was accompanied by unspeakable atrocities. More than a decade later, the Congo is still a war zone. Thus, despite democratic gains, clan or tribal tensions destabilized much of sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s.16

THE DEVELOPMENT STEEPLECHASE The steeplechase is a challenging track-and-field event, of course, a race over fences and ditches and hurdles—in a word, an obstacle course. As such, it is an excellent metaphor for the problems facing developing nations. They, too, are in a race—against the clock and the competition. And they, too, face all sorts of obstacles.

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© HOWARD DAVIES/CORBIS

Wars, revolutions, ethnic rivalries, droughts, and epidemics (e.g., AIDS) cause widespread human misery while also threatening the democratic future of numerous countries. Pictured here are refugees escaping from a bloody civil war that consumed Rwanda in 1994.

Development and Conflict: Deadly Diamonds Wars interfere with a nation’s development efforts by diverting the government’s attention and sapping its limited resources. Nearly all the wars since World War II have been fought in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Rivalries in the Middle East and Asia have also culminated in wars at various times, including those between Iran and Iraq, Pakistan and India, Vietnam and China, and China and India. Many Latin American countries also have longstanding disputes and rivalries with neighbors. Chile, for example, has engaged in military clashes with all three adjacent states: Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru. In the 1980s, a conflict between Ethiopia and Somalia over the Ogaden region, worsened by a famine that spread across the Horn of Africa, led to a humanitarian crisis for some 1.5 million Somali refugees. This conflict was the background for the ill-fated 1992–1994 intervention by U.S. military forces, which was ostensibly to safeguard food deliveries to the starving (see discussion later in this chapter). Anarchy stalked West Africa during these years.17 In Sierra Leone, violence was driven by the diamond trade. For years, so-called “conflict diamonds” from rebel-held mines allowed the brutal Revolutionary United Front (RUF) to arm and equip armies (see below).18 Between 1994 and 2007, sub-Saharan Africa was the scene of four major wars (conflicts causing at least 800,000 deaths each)—in Rwanda, Sudan, Congo, and Angola—and eighteen smaller wars. Armed conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa have not only taken a terrible toll in human life; they have also destroyed and disrupted fragile economies.

Development and Ethnicity: Deadly Differences Many developing countries were carved out of former colonial holdings with little concern for the geography or history of the area or indigenous ethnic,

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religious, tribal, or linguistic patterns. Too often the result has been interethnic strife and even civil war. Modernization (another name for development) poses daunting problems for indigenous peoples. Western concepts of “nation” and “nationalism” have little relevance, and yet success in forging a single national identity is crucial. Often, militant groups or movements hostile to social integration and modernization (Westernization) obstruct efforts at nation building. For example, Islam’s emphasis on piety, devotion to Allah, prayer five times each day, and strict rules of moral conduct are at odds with secularization, the sexual revolution, materialism, and self-gratification. In other words, the kinds of social change associated with modernization in the West. Specific examples best illustrate the practical problems associated with diverse populations. Nigeria and India are both developing countries with very diverse populations.

Nigeria: World’s Poorest Oil-Rich Country A large country in West Africa (population 135 million in 2007), Nigeria includes several distinct ethnic groups that predominate in different parts of the country. There are also many smaller tribes, and nearly 400 distinct languages are spoken.19 Tensions simmer between Christians and Muslims. Regional animosities, exacerbated by religious, ethnic, and linguistic differences, erupted in a bloody civil war in 1967, when eastern Nigeria seceded as the independent state of Biafra. The war, which lasted about 3 years and ended in defeat for the rebels, claimed at least 600,000 lives. For most of the period after 1967, corrupt military regimes ruled Nigeria. Despite huge state-owned oil reserves that produced a steady flow of export revenues, Nigeria’s economy sank deeper and deeper into a morass, and the vast majority of the population was forced to live from hand to mouth. The average per capita income in oil-rich Nigeria (about $1,260 in 2009) is only slightly larger than that of India, an oil-importing country with a population more than six times larger. High world oil prices have boosted Nigeria’s oildependent economy in recent years, but most Nigerians have experienced few benefits. Corrupt military regimes ran the country almost continuously from 1967 to 1999. The generals would promise—and occasionally stage—a national election, but it would turn out to be a sham (as in 1993). Mounting international pressure no doubt played a large role in compelling Nigeria’s military rulers to allow free elections in 1999 and to permit the results—the election of the first popular presidential candidate in nearly 20 years—to stand. But corruption did not end with the return of civilian government, and a decade later, the morally debasing effects of easy money from a grossly mismanaged oil industry with few links to the national economy were still everywhere apparent. Indeed, for a time Nigeria—the richest poor country in Africa—was actually importing gasoline.

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India: Elephant or Cheetah? With its 1.14 billion people—17 percent of the world’s population—India accounts for only about 2 percent of global GDP and about 1 percent of trade,20 although it is experiencing an impressive growth spurt in recent years (Box 9.3). India is the second-largest country in the world and one of the most diverse. The Indian constitution recognizes 16 languages, though census data indicate more than 1,500 languages are spoken, including dialects. The “big three” official languages are English, Hindi, and Urdu. Hindi is spoken by about one-third of all Indians. English is the elite language, spoken by all university-educated Indians. Urdu is the language of Indian Muslims, the nation’s largest minority group. India is also home to various religions. Hinduism predominates, but there is also a large Muslim population (about 12 percent of the total), as well as Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist, and Christian minorities. Since Indian independence in 1947, communal violence—between Hindus and Muslims or Hindus and

FIGURE 9.5 India: Note India’s lengthy border with Pakistan; note also the geographical triangle formed by New Delhi (north central) and Mumbai (formerly Bombay) on the Arabian Sea and Calcutta on the extreme eastern edge by the Bay of Bengal.

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• Kandla

• Ahmadabad

Kolkata BANGLADESH (Calcutta) •

Bhopal



BURMA

Nagpur

30

Mumbai (Bombay)

• Arabian Sea



20

DECCAN Hyderabad



• Panaji Marmagao • Bangalore •

• Vishakhapatnam

Chennai

• (Madas)

Calicut • Pondicherry • Madurai 10 Cochin • • Laccadive Tuticorin SRI • LANKA 70 Sea

Bay of Bengal ANDAMAN ISLANDS

Port Blair 10 NICOBAR ISLANDS

90

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CHAPTER 9 The Other World

Sikhs—has erupted periodically. In some instances, members of one religious group have massacred members of another. In 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a Hindu, was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. In 1991, her son, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was assassinated while campaigning to regain office. The traditional caste system in India also created a barrier to development— everyone was born into a particular caste and remained there for life. Professions, occupations, and social status were all governed by the rules of the caste system. Members of a lower caste could not aspire to a profession or occupation reserved for a higher caste, nor could anyone marry outside his or her caste. Obviously, this rigid framework greatly impeded social mobility—the very mobility needed to transform a traditional society into a modern one. A vast underclass, called the untouchables, had no rights or opportunities in traditional India. The Indian government has since outlawed untouchability, but old attitudes die slowly, especially in tradition-bound rural societies. (Seven in 10 Indians still live in small villages.) Societal divisions tend to be reinforcing rather than crosscutting. Thus, Indian Muslims not only practice their own distinct religion but also live in their own insular areas, have a distinct ethnic heritage, and speak their own language. Much the same can be said of Sikhs, Jains, and other groups. In extreme cases, these divisions can lead to calls for separatism or communal violence. Militant Sikhs have called for an independent state in northwestern India (where they are concentrated). Hindu-Muslim hatred has led to periodic massacres. Thus, in the state of Gujarat in March 2002, Hindus slaughtered as many as 2,000 Muslims. In August 2003, two bombs blamed on Muslim militants killed 52 people in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). On November 26–29, 2008, ten coordinated shooting and bombing attacks occurred in Mumbai, killing at least 173 people and injuring more than 300. The split between Hindus and Muslims continues to destabilize India—and therefore South Asia as a region— more than six decades after independence. India was long the indigent giant of Asia, a society with a rich history and a civilization symbolized by the splendor of the Taj Mahal but unable to cope with the challenges of the modern world. Just as Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore were often called “dragons” or “tigers” not long ago, India was likened to an elephant—huge and magnificent, but encumbered by the weight of its massive body. Anyone familiar with the contemporary Asian scene, however, is more likely to think of India as a cheetah than an elephant. Neither image quite fits; paradoxically, each is half true. India is the world’s second most populous country. India’s population is growing much faster than China’s. Until recently, demography has overwhelmed development in India. Although a recent five-year growth spurt saw India’s economy grow by nearly 9 percent a year (see Box 9.3), China’s GDP was still 3.5 times larger than India’s in 2008–2009. China needs 8 percent annual growth to provide jobs for the roughly 7 million new members of its workforce each year; India’s workforce is growing by about 14 million a year—that is, it is producing about 25 percent of the world’s new workers. Like China, India is highly

The Development Steeplechase

India: Moving Up in the World

India’s achievements (1947):

since

Independence

• Maintaining parliamentary democracy • Reducing absolute poverty by more than half • Dramatically improving literacy and health care delivery • Becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, with average growth rate of 9 percent over the past four years • Emerging as a global player in information technology, business process outsourcing, telecommunications, and pharmaceuticals SOURCE: The World Bank, “India Country Overview 2009.”

As India’s finance minister, Manmohan Singh authored the country’s successful economic reform program in 1991. He became India’s Prime Minister in 2004, the first Sikh ever to head an Indian government.

© GAUTAM SINGH/AP PHOTO

BOX 9.3

279

vulnerable to a drop in global demand for its exports. The global financial crisis caused the Indian economy to slip dramatically to 5.3 percent in the last quarter of 2008. Unlike China, India was severely limited in its efforts to stimulate the slowing economy due to a budget deficit approaching 8 percent of GDP.21 Today’s India is a study in contrasts. In the 1990s, Manmohan Singh, now the prime minister, opened up India’s economy by privatizing publicly owned enterprises, easing protectionist trade practices, cutting red tape, and making it possible for foreign firms in certain sectors to set up operations in India for the first time since independence. India’s current five-year plan (2007–2012) called for a sustained growth rate of 9 percent, which looked ambitious but not unrealistic until the downturn in 2008–2009. Even before the global financial meltdown, India’s economic miracle was in danger of being derailed by galloping inflation, overextended commercial bank credit, widening current account (foreign trade) deficits, and mushrooming budget deficits.

Sri Lanka: Sinhalese versus Tamils Although we have focused on India and Nigeria, many other developing countries face similar problems. Sri Lanka, for example, is split between the majority

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Sinhalese (74 percent), who are mostly Buddhist, and the Tamils (18 percent), who are mostly Hindu and predominate in the northern and eastern parts of the country. Militant Tamil groups seeking to secede—notably the Tamil Tigers—have carried out terrorist acts and conducted guerrilla warfare against the central government since 1983, when an outbreak of communal riots left at least 2,000 Tamils dead.22 After a quarter-century of civil war, Sri Lanka has still not defeated this insurrection, but in February 2009, the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Norway issued a joint statement saying it was “just a short time before the Tigers lost all the territory still under their control.” Like India, Sri Lanka displays a pattern of cultural diversity that impedes the search for a national consensus. In sum, ethnically diverse societies are the rule in the Third World. Over half of the nations created by de-colonization in the postwar period are home to more than five major ethnic groups.23 This ethnic diversity has made the problems of nation-building in these countries complex and conflict an all-toocommon occurrence.

Development and Identity: Paradise Lost

ascriptive societies A society in which an individual’s status and position are ascribed on the basis of religion, gender, age, or some other attribute.

When modernization occurs, traditional ties are undermined, people are uprooted, and beliefs are challenged. Villagers tend not to trust strangers; social interaction is generally confined to family, clan, or village members. Fear of the unfamiliar, fatalism in the face of nature’s accidents, and a low sense of individual efficacy combine to make traditional peasants and villagers averse to risk taking. Modernization often forces villagers to move to cities in search of work; to interact with strangers; and to redefine themselves. Traditional people are less time-conscious than modern urbanites. Punching a clock is alien. Personal success and the spirit of free enterprise associated with entrepreneurship and competition are also alien to people accustomed to thinking in group terms (family, clan, or tribe). Status in traditional societies is ascriptive, that is, it is ascribed by society on the basis of religion, age, and the like. In contrast, modern societies are (or claim to be) merit based. The Indian caste system is an extreme example of ascriptive status. Gender is another key status factor. Male dominance is prevalent in most traditional societies, where a low level of technology, ranging from the lack of modern machines to absence of birth control, combines with high infant mortality rates to reinforce traditional gender roles and attitudes. Thus, in developing nations, the communal nature of traditional life precedes, and often precludes, individualism, entrepreneurship, and self-expression.

Development and Poverty: How Green Is the Revolution? Despite significant differences in economic development and national wealth, many developing nations are still poor more than a half century after independence. Why?

The Development Steeplechase

281

© LIBA TAYLOR/CORBIS

Traditional people tend not to trust strangers and often do not understand modern technology, including basic health care, which is considered routine in the developed world. Although such reactions are natural, they can impede modernization.

Pre-modern economies are based on agriculture and mining. Excessive dependence on agricultural commodities and raw materials makes these societies vulnerable to the ups and downs of global markets. Some developing countries raise only one major export crop. Bangladesh, for example, produces nothing but jute for export. When the price of jute declines, Bangladesh—one of the poorest developing nations—has nothing to fall back on. Ethiopia’s monoculture economy is based on coffee exports; Cuba mainly produces sugar for export; Honduras exports bananas, and so on. Some developing countries are economically addicted to illegal cash crops: peasants in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, for example, produce coca (cocaine) for export; Afghanistan is the world’s primary source of heroine (made from poppy seeds). Though many PDCs have more than one crop or mineral resource, few are highly diversified in both agriculture and industry. As a result, great economic disparities still exist, not only from one country to another but also from region to region (see Table 9.1). To modernize, poor developing countries need to import industrial goods. To pay for manufactures, PDCs need to export food, fiber, and minerals. But the terms of trade tend to work against them—the price of industrial goods is high, while the price of agricultural products and raw materials is often low. Commodity prices on the world market fluctuate wildly at times, creating uncertainties and mounting foreign debt. Some developing countries also face a serious population problem. The industrial democracies have population growth of less than 1 percent, and several western European countries reached zero or negative population growth by 1990. By contrast, many of the poorest developing countries still have birthrates in the range of 2–3 percent annually (compare Figures 9.6 and 9.7). In some African countries (Niger and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), as well

terms of trade In international economics, the valuation (or price) of the products (commodities, manufactures, services) that countries buy on the world market relative to the valuation of the products they sell; the structure of prices for different kinds of goods and services in international trade—for example, if manufactures are generally high-priced relative to minerals and agricultural products, then the terms of trade are unfavorable for countries that produce only farm commodities or raw materials.

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CHAPTER 9 The Other World

TABLE 9.1

Per Capita Gross National Income by Region (Purchasing Power Parity)

Region Sub-Saharan Africa North America*

Per Capita GNI (in U.S. dollars) 1,870 45,850

Latin America and the Caribbean

9,321

Asia

5,960

East Asia and Pacific

4,937

EURO area

32,508

*This number is for the United States; Canada’s per capita GNI was around $35,000, but Canada represents less than 7 percent of the population of North America. SOURCE: The World Bank 2009.

Green Revolution A dramatic rise in agricultural output, resulting from modern irrigation systems and synthetic fertilizers, characteristic of modern India, Mexico, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

as in parts of the Middle East (notably the Palestinian territories and Yemen), annual birthrates are greater than 3 percent. Rapid urbanization poses acute problems, because PDCs do not have the resources to support public services and create new schools, hospitals, housing complexes, and most important, jobs. The Green Revolution, the application of agricultural technology and modern irrigation and synthetic fertilizers to produce high-yield strains of wheat, rice, and corn, has helped ease the foodpopulation crisis in India, Mexico, the Philippines and elsewhere, but as we now know, at a high cost to the environment.24 The promise of ending world hunger through modern technology has yet to be fulfilled (see Box 9.4). People who subsist on severely limited diets do not have the energy to be productive, leaving many developing nations caught in a vicious cycle: they are poor because they are not productive enough, and they are not productive enough because they are poor. Land tenure also poses a significant problem in many developing countries. In some areas, land ownership—and local power—is highly concentrated; in others, land is fragmented into parcels too small to be profitable. In Africa, communal ownership of rural land is (or was) common. But as commercial plantations encroach on village land, cash crops such as maize, rice, and coffee replace traditional food crops. Young men and women are forced leave in search of work. Many become migrant farm workers, earning paltry wages during the crop-growing season. Finally, damage to the environment is an ever-growing problem in the developing countries. Native plants and animals are disappearing in many places, water and air pollution is rising, soil degradation and deforestation are occurring at an alarming rate from Indonesia to Brazil and in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, causing floods, soil erosion, and loss of wildlife habitat.

FIGURE 9.6 World Population, 1995: 5,692,210,000.

CUBA

JAMAICA

BELG.

ITALY

SW.

AUST.

GERMANY

NETH. DEN.

ALB.

YG.

CZ.

(including all of Russia)

IRAN

The huge increase in the size of Africa from 1995 to 2030, for example, reflects the fact that the continent will more than double in population. Europe, by contrast, grows only slightly. Some small countries, including many island nations, are not shown. The maps, created by Washington Post cartographer Richard Furno, are based on estimates by the World Bank of populations in 1995 and in 2030.

ECUADOR

AFRICA: 719,202,000 13% of World Population

209% 198% 187% 180% 175%

*Not yet a country but already the fastest growing region is the Gaza Strip. Already one of the most densely populated places on Earth, it is projected to gain 208 percent by 2030.

Oman Niger Ye men Ethiopia Angola

The Five Fastest Growing Countries over the Next Thirty-five Years:*

PAKISTAN

AFG.

INDIA

TAJIKSTAN KYRGYZ. GEORGIA ARMEN. KAZAKH. AZER. MONGOLIA UZBEK.

SYR. IRAQ

TURKEY LEB. LIBYA ISR.

GREECE

UKRAINE

RUSSIA

SWEDEN FINLAND

ROM.

POLAND

NOR.

BANG.

BHUTAN

LAOS

HONG KONG

China India United States Indonesia Brazil Russia Pakistan Japan Bangladesh Nigeria

1.2 billion 934 million 263 million 192 million 161 million 149 million 130 million 125 million 121 million 111 million

NEW ZEALAND

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

AUSTRALIA: 18,240,000 0.3% of World Population

AUSTRALIA

PHILIPPINES

TAIWAN

JAPAN

ASIA: 3,443,274,000 60% of World Population

SOUTH KOREA

NORTH KOREA

INDONESIA

SINGAPORE

MALAYSIA

CAMBODIA

THAI.

BURMA

CHINA

Ten Most Populous Countries in 1995

SRI LANKA

NEPAL

EUROPE: 730,908,000 13% of World Population

TUNISIA ALGERIA NIGER EGYPT MOROCCO OMAN MALI BRAZIL SAUDI BURKINA FASO ETHIOPIA ARABIA PERU MAURITANIA YEMEN BOLIVIA SUD SENEGAL SOMALIA GAMBIA CHAD KENYA AMERICAS: 770,176,000 CHILE PARAGUAY GUINEA-BISSAU NIGERIA UGANDA URUGUAY GUINEA 14% of World Population CAMER ARGENTINA SIERRA LEONE RWANDA ZAIRE BURUNDI LIBERIA TANZANIA IVORY COAST BENIN MALAWI GHANA TOGO ZAMBIA MAPS IN PROPORTION TO PEOPLE MOZAMBIQUE ANGOLA MADAGASGAR BOTSWANA The large world maps, here and on the next NAMIBIA page, have been drawn so that the size of each ZIMBABWE SOUTH AFRICA country is proportional to its population, instead SWAZILAND LESOTHO of its geographical area.

SPAIN

FRANCE

IRELAND

HAITI DOM. REP. PORTUGAL HONDURAS GUATEMALA EL SALVADOR TRINIDAD VENEZ. NICARAGUA & TOBAGO COSTA RICA COL. PANAMA

MEXICO

U.S.

CANADA

BRITAIN

SOURCE: © 1997 The Washington Post. Reprinted with permission.

The Development Steeplechase 283

HAITI +55%

JAMAICA +25% HONDURAS +100% PANAMA +50%

CUBA +55%

PORTUGAL –0.8%

BELG. –2.7% FRANCE DOM. REP. +7.8% +49%

IRELAND +24%

BRITAIN +3.9%

AUST. SW. BUL.

CZ. UKRAINE ROM. YG.

POLAND

Bangladesh Ethiopia Russia

191 million 158 million 153 million

+58% +180% +3%

AFRICA: 1,556,723,000 18% of World Population +116%

INDIA +53%

NEPAL +90%

MONGOLIA +88%

(includes all of Russia)

EUROPE: 741,707,000 9% of World Population +1.5%

TAJIKISTAN +101% KYRGYZ. ARMENIA +55% +33% AZER. KAZAKH. +31% +43%

NOR. SWEDEN DEN. +8.6% +7.0% FINLAND +4.2% RUSSIA GEORGIA +3.1% +13% GERMANY

NETH. +3.0%

UZBEK. TURKEY +78% +48% AFG. GREECE GUATEMALA TRINIDAD +146% SYRIA +160% ITALY +106% VENEZ. SPAIN & TOBAGO –8.1% ALB. LEBANON +50% +61% –3.6% +39% EL SALVADOR IRAN IRAQ +43% ISRAEL +44% +67% COL. +126% +107% JORDAN +112% +44% PAKISTAN NICARAGUA SAUDI ARABIA +153% +100% +94% COSTA RICA BRAZIL +56% ALGERIA +43% YEMEN +77% ECUADOR TUNISIA EGYPT +187% MOROCCO +61% PERU NIGER +66% +56% OMAN +63% PARAGUAY +61% +198% +209% +109% BURKINA FASO BOLIVIA +156% +83% ETHIOPIA SOMALIA +180% MAURITANIA +154% AMERICAS: 1,082,702,000 URUGUAY +147% +21% 13% of World Population ARGENTINA SUDAN MALI +115% +175% +41% +30% UGANDA +162% SENEGAL CHILE NIGERIA +106% KENYA +81% +37% +110% GUINEA +143% RWANDA +73% ZAIRE +144% BURUNDI +139% SIERRA LEONE +136% TANZANIA +139% GHANA CAMEROON LIBERIA +125% BENIN +127% MALAWI +116% IVORY +112% Ten Most Populous Countries in 2030 +143% ANGOLA COAST MOZAMBIQUE +175% TOGO +164% +153% China 1.5 billion +25% +145% ZIMBABWE +66% India 1.4 billion +53% MADAGASGAR BOTSWANA United States 328 million +25% +109% ZAMBIA +97% Indonesia 275 million +43% +104% NAMIBIA Pakistan 259 million +100% SWAZILAND +100% Nigeria 233 million +110% SOUTH AFRICA LESOTHO +156% Brazil 231 million +43% +71% +82%

MEXICO +57%

U.S. +25%

CANADA +23%

SRI LANKA +35%

BANGLADESH +58%

BHUTAN +101%

THAI. +38%

BURMA +64%

CHINA +25%

INDONESIA +43%

NEW ZEALAND +22%

PAPUA NEW GUINEA +75%

JAPAN –2.5%

AUSTRALIA

PHILIPPINES +75%

TAIWAN +22%

AUSTRALIA: 22,824,000 0.3% of World Population +25%

SINGAPORE +35%

VIETNAM +66% CAMBODIA +68% MALAYSIA +61%

LAOS +129%

HONG KONG +5.3%

SOUTH KOREA +20%

NORTH KOREA +45%

ASIA: 5,053,974,000 60% of World Population +47%

SOURCE: Boyce Ransberger, “Damping the World’s Population: Birthrates Are Falling Now but More Needs to Be Done in the Long Term,” Washington Post National Weekly Edition. September 12–18, 1994, 10–40. ©1994 The Washington Post. Reprinted with permission.

FIGURE 9.7 World Population, 2030: 8,474,017,000 (a 49 percent increase from 1995 world population). These two maps show the projected change in population growth between 1995 and 2030. The maps have been drawn so that each country’s size is proportional to its population. As these maps dramatically illustrate, much of the projected population increases will occur in developing nations.

284 CHAPTER 9 The Other World

The Development Steeplechase

Box 9.4 FOCUS ON

285

World Hunger

• Across the world, 63 million people are hungry. • Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes—one every five seconds. • Poor nutrition and calorie deficiencies cause nearly one in three people to die prematurely or develop disabilities, according to the World Health Organization. • Hunger manifests itself in many ways other than starvation and famine. Most poor people who battle hunger also deal with chronic undernourishment and vitamin or mineral deficiencies, which result in stunted growth, weakness, and heightened susceptibility to illness. • Countries in which a large portion of the population goes hungry are usually poor and lack

social safety nets; when a family cannot grow enough food or earn enough money to buy food, there is nowhere to turn for help. • In 2006, about 9.7 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday. Almost all these deaths occurred in developing countries, four-fifths of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the two regions that suffer the highest rates of hunger and malnutrition. • In the developing world, 26 percent of children under 5 are moderately to severely underweight and an overwhelming 32 percent are moderately to severely stunted. SOURCE: Adapted from Bread for the World Website at , accessed on April 28, 2009.

When Development Fails: The Lessons of Darfur We in the West believe in progress and tend to see history as a record of linear development. Change in this view goes in one direction—from worse to better. But societies in the throes of modernization are also, paradoxically, among the most vulnerable to disintegration and decay—from better to worse. “Modernization in practice,” noted political scientist Samuel Huntington, “always involves change in and usually the disintegration of a traditional political system, but it does not necessarily involve significant movement toward a modern political system . . . Yet the tendency is to think that because social modernization is taking place, political modernization must also be taking place.”25 Thus, Rwanda and Burundi became genocidal killing fields in 1993–1994 as a result of hatred and mistrust between Hutu and Tutsi tribes. Between 2003 and 2007, a tragedy of similar proportions unfolded in eastern Sudan, where a government-sponsored campaign to crush rebels turned into a policy of ethnic cleansing, the unconscionable practice of rape, pillage, and mass murder, in the remote Darfur region. As many as 2.5 million refugees—mostly women and children who managed to escape mass murder—had reportedly been displaced as of October 2006. Development is necessary, but it is no guarantee of peace or prosperity.

ethnic cleansing The practice of clearing all Muslims out of towns and villages in Bosnia by violent means; the term has also been used to characterize genocidal assaults on minority populations in other parts of the world, including the Darfur region of Sudan.

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DYSFUNCTIONAL STATES In recent times, we have seen states and societies self-destruct, destabilizing neighboring states in the process and even threatening world peace. Dysfunctional states are wretched places where extremes are the norm, where government is either repressive or too weak to maintain a modicum of law and order. Under such circumstances, the most violent elements in society take over. Both criminal and political violence stalk the city streets and threaten villages unprotected by police or a vigilant free press. When the world is not watching, atrocities can go unnoticed for days, weeks, even months. This image may be disturbing, but it is all too real. In this section, we look at four examples of political systems that are (or were) dysfunctional: Somalia, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, and Zimbabwe. These examples by no means exhaust the list of candidates. A complete list would, of course, include Russia and the Central and Eastern European countries before the collapse of Communism in 1989–1991, as well as the former Yugoslavia.

Somalia The Horn of Africa is home to several of the poorest countries on earth, including Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. In the 1980s and 1990s, this region was afflicted by drought, famine, international conflict, civil wars, and all manner of violence. In the early 1990s, the most critical food shortages occurred in Somalia, where civil war and drought conspired to cause terrible human suffering. In August 1992, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) triggered a massive international relief effort when it warned that two million Somalis, of a total population of slightly more than eight million, faced starvation within 6 months. Against this backdrop of violence and misery, rebels ousted Somalia’s longtime dictator, Siad Barré, in January 1991. Fighting and famine followed, leaving 300,000 people dead and millions at risk of starvation. A near-total breakdown of law and order plunged the country into anarchy and placed women and children at the mercy of armed bandits, who disrupted relief efforts by international agencies, stole food intended for starving children, and murdered relief workers. At the end of 1992, outgoing U.S. President George H. W. Bush ordered a military intervention to safeguard relief supplies and workers. The scene was so chaotic that restoring law and order proved impossible. Long after the U.S.-led UN forces departed in March 1995 (following the brutal killing of several U.S. soldiers), Somalia remained a country without a national government. Maps showing which areas were controlled by which factions looked more like a jigsaw puzzle than a political configuration. Somalia was one of the poorest countries in Africa in the 1990s, with a per capita GNP of less than $500 and an illiteracy rate of more than 75 percent. Moreover, it is underdeveloped both politically and economically. The structure of Somali society is based on kinship ties, or clans—in fact, the civil war was a clan war. If Somalia cannot find a formula for political stability, it cannot rebuild

Dysfunctional States

its economy. The reverse is also true: stability depends on economic and social progress. Somalia today remains a failed state. Anarchy is a boon to thieves, and Somalia is the world’s number-one haven for pirates. In 2009 it once again became the focus of world attention when Somali pirates seized a merchant ship flying the U.S. flag and held the captain hostage, provoking President Obama to authorize the use of force if it appeared the captain’s life was in imminent danger. Three of the hostage takers were killed by sharpshooters and a fourth was captured and brought back to the United States to face trial on criminal charges. The rescue operation succeeded: the captain’s life was saved. But who will rescue Somalia?

Sierra Leone We’ve seen that functioning democracy is rare in sub-Saharan Africa. Even where it once appeared to be working, it has failed—in some cases miserably, and nowhere more so than in Sierra Leone. When legislative elections were held in Sierra Leone in 1986, the aptly named All People’s Party approved 335 candidates to contest 105 elective seats. The party typically offered at least three contestants for each seat, a common practice among one-party states in sub-Saharan Africa. Voters in Sierra Leone actually had more choices—relative to personalities, at least—than voters in most U.S. legislative races. Nonetheless, in the 1990s, Sierra Leone began a steady descent into anarchy. Between 1996 and 1998, the government changed hands four times. Then all hell broke loose, and rebel members of the so-called Revolutionary United Front began chopping off hands right and left. They chopped off heads, too. They kidnapped small boys and girls and abused them in unspeakable ways. The RUF was notorious for turning boys into drug-addicted killers and sex slaves—so-called “child soldiers.” Kidnapped girls became sex slaves and sometimes fighters as well. The conflict officially ended in January 2002. It is estimated that 50,000 people were killed in the decade-long civil war, but there is no way of knowing for sure and no way of measuring the cost in shattered lives. The United Nations installed a peacekeeping force of 17,000 troops—the largest ever. The incumbent president, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, was reelected with 70 percent of the vote in May 2002. The disarmament of 70,000 soldiers was completed in 2004, and a UN-sponsored war crimes tribunal opened. In September 2007, voters in Sierra Leone elected a new president, handing the governing party a surprising defeat. It was at least a minor victory for democracy, the first elections since the departure of the United Nations peacekeeping force in 2004. Also in 2007, the ongoing trial of Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president, for “crimes against humanity”—specifically, abetting the violent rebel group (RUK) mainly responsible for the atrocities committed in the civil war— began at a UN criminal court at The Hague. In June 2007, three former rebel

287

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leaders were found guilty of rape and enlisting child soldiers—the first time an international tribunal ruled on the recruitment of child soldiers under age 15. The UN has listed Sierra Leone as the world’s “least livable” country for the past several years, due to widespread poverty and what can only be described as the abysmal quality of life endured by its citizens. Sierra Leone is an object lesson in what can happen when a dysfunctional state sinks into anarchy. Neither the civil institutions nor the political culture necessary to support and sustain democracy were present. For several decades, the appearance of democracy masked the reality of a society capable of erupting into volcanic civil violence at any moment.

Afghanistan As everyone knows, the United States invaded Afghanistan when it became known that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by a militant Islamic group called al-Qaeda and that the Taliban, Afghanistan’s fundamentalist political regime, was allowing al-Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden, to use Afghanistan territory as a base of operations. What was less well known at the time (and what decision makers in Washington appear to have forgotten or overlooked) is the historical background. For nearly three decades prior to the landing of U.S. Special Forces on Afghan soil, Afghanistan had been one of the world’s most dysfunctional states. Even prior to the overthrow of the monarchy in the 1970s, the country was poor and backward, but thereafter it spiraled into two decades of bloody turmoil. By 2001, the entire country was a shambles and millions of people—especially women and children—were living on the very edge of a precipice. Home to many ethnic groups, Afghanistan reflects the disparate populations around its periphery—Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and China. The largest group, the Pashtuns, constitute about 40 percent of the total population (about 26 million people). Thus, there is no majority group, only minorities of different sizes. Roughly 99 percent of all Afghans are Muslims; about 15 percent are Shi’ite Muslims (as are most Iranians). Afghanistan was a monarchy from 1747 to 1973, when the country came apart at the seams. Various factions fought for supremacy after 1973, until the Soviet Union made the fateful decision to intervene on behalf of its favorite thug (a Communist) in 1979. A brutal and protracted war ensued; the Soviet Union finally withdrew in defeat in 1989 after a decade of debilitating (and humiliating) warfare. The United States had secretly backed the Islamic resistance, called the mujahedeen, by supplying weapons and other aid to the rebel forces. Amazingly, the United States and Osama bin Laden were fighting side by side at this time. Opponents overthrew the Communist regime and seized power in 1992. The new strongman refused to relinquish power when his term officially expired, but Taliban forces assaulted the capital and ousted him in 1996. The Taliban regime instituted a totalitarian system of rule couched in the language and concepts of Islam but based on a perversion of the Qur’an (holy scripture)

Overdevelopment: The Enemy Within

and Sharia law (based on the teachings of Muslim clerics or mullahs). Women and girls were forced to wear the burka (a one-piece, head-to-toe garment) in public and were forbidden to work outside the home, to go to school, or to express opinions at variance with the government. The government banned television, movies, music, dancing, and most other forms of “decadent” entertainment. The Taliban was a brutal and repressive regime that clearly did not enjoy the support of the people. It seized control of a fragile and dysfunctional state and turned it into a tool of domestic and international terrorism. Instability in Afghanistan poses a grave danger to neighboring Pakistan as well. As a failed state, Afghanistan illustrates a stark and sobering lesson: dysfunctional states can become a threat to regional stability and even to world order. The solution—economic growth and development—is obvious but elusive.

Zimbabwe In March 2007, a popular opposition leader named Morgan Tsvangirai was beaten and hospitalized in Zimbabwe after the country’s 83-year-old virtual dictator, Robert Mugabe, ordered police to break up a protest rally in the capital of Harare. Despite all, Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the 2008 presidential elections, but Mugabe refused to relinquish power, eventually agreeing to a power-sharing scheme which he quickly violated (see Chapter 5). During his 27 years in power, Mugabe has plunged Zimbabwe into utter ruin. When he finally goes, he will leave a bitter legacy of chronic unemployment, hyperinflation (the highest in the world), and an impoverished society where the oft-repeated promise of democracy was repeatedly broken. Mugabe is an example of the kind of corrupt and incompetent leadership that has plagued sub-Saharan Africa since the end of the colonial era. Sadly, at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, what distinguishes Zimbabwe’s government from that of most other countries in the region is a difference in degree, not in kind. Development is generally a good thing. Next we ask, is it possible to get too much of a good thing?

OVERDEVELOPMENT: THE ENEMY WITHIN All societies are in a constant state of flux, rising or falling, but never standing still. They develop in different ways, at different rates, and at different times. In the modern era, Western societies have led the way—they developed economically and technologically along lines congruent with the political institutions that evolved at the same time. In this sense, development, as defined in the contemporary world, was a natural process that originated within these societies.

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For developing countries, development is often just the opposite: an alien process that originates from the outside—that is, from world market forces, International Monetary Fund pressures, foreign capital looking for cheap labor, and the like. Development is always disruptive, but even more so when it is forced on societies, whether by foreign powers or by external circumstances. The story of development does not end with the arrival of the postindustrial state. Western countries have developed beyond the agricultural stage, beyond the industrial stage, and are now high-tech economies offering a vast array of commercial and financial services. Of course, they are still engaged in agriculture, mining, and industry, but these sectors of the economy have been eclipsed in importance by high-tech goods, such as computer software, science- and research-based products such as pharmaceuticals, and financial services. These new products bring a higher quality of life to consumers who can afford them, but they come with a price—congestion and crowding in cities, air and water pollution, stress-related illnesses, illegal drug use, overconsumption, energy shortages, waste disposal problems, global warming, extinction of countless plant and animal species, and many other maladies commonly associated with development. Thus late-stage development is no more free of challenges than early-stage development. The challenges are different, but no less daunting. Overdeveloped countries—where development has outrun society’s capacity to deal with undesirable side effects of rapidly accelerating technological and social change—might do well to focus more attention on solving the problems they face and less on telling so-called underdeveloped countries what to do and how to do it. Development and democracy are often viewed as synonymous in the West, and the language of political science and the literature of development suggest all aspects of development are desirable. Sometimes, in an effort to be politically correct, political scientists use the term pre-modern to describe societies in an early stage of development. Development theory thus assumes development is good—always and everywhere—and that tradition and superstition, the “dead hand of the past,” are impediments to progress. But some critics point out that musings on development often amount to little more than praise for all things Western, and that Western experts on the subject are guilty of ethnocentrism.26 In fact, Western philosophers have long struggled with this problem. Thus, in 1750, the French philosopher Rousseau declared, “Our souls have been corrupted in proportion to the movement of our sciences and arts towards perfection.”27 Much of Rousseau’s political philosophy indeed springs from the notion that modern civilization has eroded, rather than enhanced, our humanity. As each passing day brings more scientific evidence of the dark side of development—over-population, climate change, pandemic influenza, and other infectious diseases—Rousseau is looking more and more like a prophet.

Summmy

GATEWAYS TO THE WORLD: EXPLORING CYBERSPACE www.undp.org This is the UN Development Program site, which includes news features on developing countries, pages for various UN development programs, and the UN’s poverty clock. http://www.bread.org/learn/hunger-basics/ This is the world hunger page at the Bread for the World Website. A good source of basic facts and information about a killer rooted in poverty that stalks hundreds of millions of people. www.globalservicecorps.org This Website of the Global Service Corps provides information for prospective volunteers in various developing countries and an online newsletter addressing current events and issues in the developing world. http://www.worldbank.org/ The World Bank’s gateway to its extensive data bases on all member states. On the front page just click on “Countries.” Also, check out “Data and Research.” www.g77.org The Group of 77 Website includes a description of the organization’s composition, aims, membership, and special programs. www.fundforpeace.org/programs/fsi/fsindex.php This is the site of the “Failed States Index,” first introduced by the Fund for Peace in 2005. http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/idb/summaries.html This is the U.S. Census Bureau International Database. A quick and easy way to get country-by-country demographic data in a standard format. www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/org6_e.htm Visit the Website of the World Trade Organization to learn about current trade talks and ponder whether global markets are mainly driven by economics or politics.

SUMMARY Developing countries are so named because they are less developed economically and less modernized socially than are Western liberal democracies. Although some generalizations about developing countries are possible (for instance,

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most are poor, have high population growth, and rely on agriculture), these nations are highly diverse. The historic legacy of developing nations—especially European colonialism—is a political map that makes little sense, including borders that do not reflect indigenous ethnic, religious, and tribal patterns and thereby have fostered political instability, including riots, rebellions, civil wars, and even genocide. Political development requires that leaders effectively unify the population (nation building), provide for government institutions that respond to people’s needs (state building), encourage citizen participation, and ensure an adequate distribution of wealth, power, and property. Specifically, political development requires a government that can govern effectively and transfer political power smoothly. Usually, political development also assumes movement toward democratic government. Democracy in developing countries correlates with the existence and distribution of certain identifiable economic, political, social, and attitudinal variables. To institute democratic reforms, a nation may start with either political or economic reforms, but an economy-first strategy provides the more likely prospect for success. Many developing nations have adopted democratic reforms in recent decades, but this trend is reversible. Development can be an arduous task. Developing nations are motivated to undertake development programs by economic hardships, political rivalries, and rising expectations; however, in the process, they encounter significant barriers. Socially, populations are often fragmented. Psychologically, individuals are heavily dependent on tradition and frequently oppose change. Economically, problems range from unfavorable terms of trade and high foreign debt to rapid population growth, a low level of technology, entrenched land tenure problems, and environmental difficulties. When leaders cannot successfully meet the social, economic, and political demands of development (for any number of reasons), development fails and nations disintegrate. Some societies decay and disintegrate rather than develop. The Soviet Union provides the most stunning example; others include Afghanistan, Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Lebanon, Liberia, Sudan, Somalia, Sierra Leone, and Yugoslavia. Overdevelopment (the opposite of “underdevelopment”) is a problem afflicting many Western societies today. Contemporary ideas about development tend to assume its desirability despite such postindustrial problems as pollution, congestion, and drug addiction, as well as over-population, climate change, and pandemic diseases.

KEY TERMS developing countries Third World colonialism imperialism nonviolent resistance terms of trade

G33 Doha Round poorest developing countries (PDCs) political development nation building

state building democratic correlates ascriptive Green Revolution ethnic cleansing

Review Questions

REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. What are the salient characteristics of the so-called Third World? How do these relate to the development process? 2. Are most WTO members rich or poor? Do the majority of the world’s nations and peoples have fair access to global markets? 3. Elucidate the correlates of democracy. How compelling is this line of analysis? Comment. 4. What are the incentives for modernization? What sources of resistance can you identify? 5. Does development always lead to democracy? Is the reverse true? List some examples. 6. All things considered—India’s political system, the current state of the Indian economy, and the broader question of social justice—would you say India’s successes outweigh its failures or vice versa? Explain. 7. Nigeria is most likely to become sub-Saharan Africa’s first major global power. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Explain. 8. What are the barriers to development? If development is so difficult, why do nations undertake it? 9. How are development and decay related? Are states and societies ever static? Comment. 10. Name three dysfunctional states and use one as an example to illustrate the nature of this type of state.

RECOMMENDED READING Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. New York: Sarah Crichton Books, 2007. A shocking firsthand account of the horrors of Sierra Leone’s descent into anarchy in the 1990s and how children were both innocent victims and brutal perpetrators of violence. The factual accuracy of the author’s account has been called into question, but not the authenticity of his ordeal. Binder, Leonard. “The Crises of Political Development.” In Crisis and Sequences in Political Development, edited by Leonard Binder et al. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1971. A groundbreaking study that identifies five “crises of development”: identity, legitimacy, participation, distribution, and penetration. Brass, Paul. The Politics of India Since Independence. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. A concise but broad study of political, economic, and culture change in India over the past half century. Casper, Gretchen. Fragile Democracies: The Legacies of Authoritarian Rule. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995. Relying on numerous examples from developing countries, the author explores why democracy “remains problematic” in such states. Chomsky, Noam. Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2006. A leading intellectual offers a scathing critique of U.S. policy toward the Third World: Washington has repeatedly asserted the right to intervene against “failed states,” but, ironically, the United States is itself a failed state—and the most dangerous one of all.

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Collier, Paul. The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. A book on world poverty variously described by reviewers as “thought-provoking,” “path-breaking,” and “insightful.” Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies. New York: Norton, 1999. In this fascinating bestseller, Diamond argues that geography and environment are the critical variables that determine winners and losers in world history. His penetrating analysis flies in the face of theories that stress biological factors. If Diamond is correct, Western civilization flourished for reasons that had nothing to do with the racial superiority; Europeans were (are) no stronger or smarter than the peoples they colonized—just luckier. ________. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking Penguin, 2005. In this sequel to Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond turns the question around and asks, What causes great civilizations and thriving societies to decline or disintegrate? Easterly, William. The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. New York: Penguin, 2007. An incisive analysis of failed Western aid policies in the Third World by a former senior economist at the World Bank. Ghani, Ashraf and Clare Lockhart. Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. The authors rely heavily on management theory and make policy recommendations based on practical real-life experience. Godwin, Peter. When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2008) This is a book about the death of the author’s father and of the country the author knew as a child growing up in Zimbabwe during it war of independence. It is also a book about Robert Mugabe, the violent self-proclaimed president-for-life who is to blame. A gripping personal account written by a professional journalist. Guha, Ramanchandra. India after Gandhi: A History of the World’s Largest Democracy. New York: Harper Perennial, 2008. This elegant history of India since 1947 not only chronicles the nation’s trial and tribulations but also celebrates its achievements. Huntington, Samuel P. “How Countries Democratize.” Political Science Quarterly 106 (1991–92): 578–616. Examines how various nondemocratic regimes (classified as one-party systems, military regimes, and personal dictatorships) democratized between 1974 and 1990, with an emphasis on Third World nations. Kaplan, Robert D. The Coming Anarchy. New York: Vintage Books, 2001. ________.“Will More Countries Become Democratic?”Political Science Quarterly 99 (1984): 193–218. Articulates the economic, cultural, and social factors assumed to be associated with democracy. Kaplan, Seth. Fixing Fragile States: A New Paradigm for Development. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2008. Argues for placing policy emphasis on institution building instead of sending troops and foreign aid. Gives special attention to seven dysfunctional places, including West Africa. Lipset, Seymour. American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. New York: W. W. Norton, 1996. The thesis that the United States was “born modern,” having shed all vestiges of feudalism at birth, and that it remains fundamentally different from European societies. ________. Political Man: The Social Bases of Democracy, rev. ed. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983. A wide-ranging discussion of politics and nation-states arguing compellingly that national wealth is the most reliable predictor of democracy. Luce, Edward. In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India. New York: Doubleday, 2007. A good, balanced account of contemporary India’s emerging economy, the problems India still faces in its modernization drive (including pervasive corruption and criminality in government and society alike), and the sheer complexity of this wondrously diverse society. Rostow, Walt Whitman. The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto, 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. A provocative study posits that all developing economies go through basically the same stages, beginning as traditional societies and progressing through self-sustaining growth to the age of mass consumption. The theory suggests that eventually all societies will become industrialized, capitalist, and democratic.

Recommended Reading

Sachs, Jeffrey. The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time. New York: Penguin, 2006. An exploration of how societies emerge from poverty by an internationally renowned scholar. Sachs is the director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Time magazine has called him “the world’s best-known economist.” Wolpert, Stanley. A New History of India, 8th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Perhaps the best and still the most readable and popular history of India.

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Politics by Civil Means Citizens, Leaders, and Policies

10 Political Socialization: The Making of a Citizen 11 Political Participation: The Price of Influence 12 Political Leadership: The Many Faces of Power 13 Issues in Public Policy: Principles, Priorities, and Practices

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Patriotism is a civic virtue. From an early age, we are taught to show reverence for national symbols like the flag.

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Political Socialization The Making of a Citizen

The Good Citizen Defining Citizenship A Classical View Political Culture: Defining the Good Political Socialization: Forming Citizens The Family Religion Schools Peer Groups The Mass Media The Law Socialization and Political Behavior Political Behavior Illegal Political Behavior When Political Socialization Fails

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he year is 1932. The Soviet Union is suffering a severe shortage of food, and millions go hungry. Joseph Stalin, leader of the Communist Party and head of the Soviet government, has undertaken a vast reordering of Soviet agriculture that eliminates a whole class of landholders (the kulaks) and collectivizes all farmland. Henceforth, every farm and all farm products belong to the state. To deter theft of what is now considered state property, the Soviet government enacts a law prohibiting individual farmers from appropriating any grain for their own private use. Acting under this law, a young boy reports his father to the authorities for concealing grain. The father is shot for stealing state property. Soon after, the boy is killed by a group of peasants, led by his uncle, who are outraged that he would betray his own father. The government, taking a radically different view of the affair, extols the boy as a patriotic martyr. Stalin considered the little boy in this story a model citizen, a hero. How citizenship is defined says a lot about a government and the philosophy or ideology that underpins it.

THE GOOD CITIZEN

citizenship The right and the obligation to participate constructively in the ongoing enterprise of self-government.

Stalin’s celebration of a child’s act of betrayal as heroic points to a distinction Aristotle originally made: The good citizen is defined by laws, regimes, and rulers, but the moral fiber (and universal characteristics) of a good person is fixed, and it transcends the expectations of any particular political regime.1 Good citizenship includes behaving in accordance with the rules, norms, and expectations of our own state and society. Thus the actual requirements vary widely. A good citizen in Soviet Russia of the 1930s was a person whose first loyalty was to the Communist Party. The test of good citizenship in a totalitarian state is this: Are you willing to subordinate all personal convictions and even family loyalties to the dictates of political authority, and to follow the dictator’s whims no matter where they may lead? In marked contrast are the standards of citizenship in constitutional democracies, which prize and protect freedom of conscience and speech. Where the requirements of the abstract good citizen—always defined by the state—come into conflict with the moral compass of actual citizens, and where the state seeks to obscure or obliterate the difference between the two, a serious problem arises in both theory and practice. At what point do people cease to be real citizens and become mere cogs in a machine—unthinking and unfeeling subjects or even slaves? Do we obey the state, or the dictates of our own conscience? This question gained renewed relevance in the United States when captured “illegal combatants” were subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques”—an Orwellian euphemism for torture—during the Bush administration’s war on terror from 2002 to 2008. One prisoner was waterboarded 183 times (strapped to a board with towels wrapped around his head while water was poured slowly

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The Good Citizen

onto the towels until he smothered).2 Other harsh interrogation methods were also used. Torture is outlawed by the Third Geneva Convention (1949), to which the United States is a party, as well as by the U.S. Code (Title 18, Chapter 113C). In addition, torture is a gross violation of the moral code we are taught to observe in our everyday lives from earliest childhood. As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama denounced torture and the use of “extraordinary” methods and procedures in the war on terror. As president, he ordered the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp (Gitmo) and an end to waterboarding and other extremely harsh interrogation techniques practiced there and elsewhere. Question Number One: Can anyone in any position of authority who orders the use of torture be justified in so doing? Question Number Two: Can anyone who carries out such an order be a good citizen? Question Number Three: Is it ever right to obey orders that are wrong—that is, illegal and (or) immoral? Keep these questions in mind as you read on.

Defining Citizenship Throughout history, people of diverse moral character have claimed to be models of good citizenship. The relationship between the moral character of citizens and different forms of government underscores Aristotle’s observation that the true measure of a political system is the kind of citizen it produces. According to this view, a good state is one whose model citizen is also a good person; a bad state is one whose model citizen obeys orders without regard for questions of good or evil. Simple though this formulation may sound, it offers striking

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After the Bush administration seized and incarcerated “illegal combatants” in a special military prison (known as “Gitmo”) at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, President Obama faced the question whether citizens who are also soldiers in the U.S. military can commit torture as part of the interrogation process and whether the fact that they were merely following orders is a defense.

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insights into the relationship between governments and citizens, including, for example, the fact that we cannot divorce civic virtue or public morality from our personal integrity or private morality. It is little wonder that different political systems embrace different definitions of citizenship. In many authoritarian states, people can be classified as citizens only in the narrowest sense of the word—that is, they reside within the territory of a certain state and are subject to its laws. The relationship between state and citizen is a one-way street. Ordinary citizens have no voice in deciding who rules or how, or even whether they have a vote. In general, the government leaves them alone as long as they acquiesce in the system. By contrast, in totalitarian states, where the government seeks to transform society and create a new kind of citizen, people are compelled to participate in the political system. From the standpoint of citizenship, however, their participation is meaningless because it is not voluntary and stresses duties without corresponding rights. Loyalty and zealotry form the core of good citizenship, and citizens may be forced to carry out orders they find morally repugnant. In democratic societies, people define citizenship very differently. In elementary school, the good citizenship award typically goes to a pupil who sets a good example, respects others, plays by the rules, and hands in assignments on time. Adults practice good citizenship by taking civic obligations seriously, obeying the laws, paying taxes, and voting regularly, among other things. In a democracy, the definition of good citizenship is found in the laws, but the legislators who write the laws are freely elected by the people—in other words, a true republic at its best erases (or at the very least eases) the tension between citizenship and moral conscience. Many individuals, including civil libertarians, emphasize that the essence of citizenship lies in individual rights or personal liberties. The formal requirements of citizenship in the United States are minimal (see Box 10.1), even though people the world over envy its rewards (hence the steady flow of immigrants into the United States, compared with the trickle of U.S. citizens emigrating to other countries). According to the Fourteenth Amendment, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Note that citizens of the United States are distinguished from aliens not on the basis of how they act or what they have done but simply on the basis of birthplace—to be born in the United States is to be a U.S. citizen. Moreover, the presumption is once a citizen, always a citizen, barring some extraordinary misdeed (such as treason) or a voluntary renunciation of citizenship.

A Classical View The minimalist view of citizenship described in Box 10.1 may provide a convenient way of distinguishing citizens from aliens (foreigners), but it does not do justice to a time-honored concept in Western civilization. To the ancient Greeks,

The Good Citizen

Citizenship and War: Democracy and Duty

In the United States, apart from paying taxes, the demands of citizenship are quite limited. They became especially limited once the United States switched to an all-volunteer army in 1972, largely as a response to the backlash against the Selective Service System (often called “the draft”) many considered unfair during the Vietnam War. Since then the law has been changed—citizenship no longer entails the duty of all males over the age of 18 to register for the draft or, in the event of war, to defend the country. Defenders of an all-volunteer army argue that it is more professional and proficient, that willing recruits are likely to make better soldiers than are conscripts, and that the military provides excellent opportunities for young men and women from minority and low-income groups to acquire the self-confidence, discipline, and technical skills that can lead to high-paying jobs in the civilian economy. Many veterans of past U.S. wars, among others, decry the ending of the draft. Others advocate making at least one year of national service mandatory for young adults who do not enlist in the armed forces. Some who argue for bringing back the draft do so on the surprising grounds that it would make war less likely. Why? Because voters are often apathetic when an issue does not affect them directly and too easily swayed when patriotism is invoked—as it always is in war. This issue resurfaced in 2003 when President George W. Bush, in effect, declared a “presidential war”—defined as the use of force outside the United States without a formal declaration of war by Congress as required under the Constitution—on Iraq. Was President Bush justified in ordering U.S. troops to invade a country that did not (and could not) attack the United States? Is it right to send the sons and daughters of minorities and the poor to fight our wars, while the children of

the rich who run the country’s corporations and have close ties to the power elite never have to serve if they don’t choose to? What kind of society starts wars, kills countless people in a foreign country, and calls upon the vast majority of its own people to make no sacrifices? Why not reinstitute the draft, or at least a universal national service of some sort? Questions of this nature help explain why the United States has been so deeply divided over politics in the post-9/11 era and why the war in Iraq figured so prominently in the 2008 presidential election.

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After the unpopular Vietnam War, the United States abolished the draft in favor of an all-volunteer armed forces.

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the concept of citizenship was only partly related to accidents of birth and political geography; rather, responsible and selfless participation in the public affairs of the community formed the vital core of citizenship. Aristotle held that a citizen “shares in the administration of justice and in the holding of office.”3 The Athens of Aristotle’s time was a small political society, or city-state, that at any given time accorded a proportionately large number of citizens significant decision-making power (women and slaves were excluded). Citizenship was the exalted vehicle through which public-spirited and properly educated free men could rule over, and in turn be ruled by, other free men and thereby advance civic virtue, public order, and the common good. In eighteenth-century Europe, the Greek ideal reemerged in a modified form. Citizen became a term applicable to those who claimed the right to petition or sue the government. Citizens were distinguished from slaves, who had no claims or rights and were regarded as chattel (property). Citizens also differed from subjects, whose first and foremost legal obligation was to show loyalty to and obey the sovereign. According to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), citizens, as opposed to slaves or subjects, possessed constitutional freedom; that is, the right to obey only laws to which they consented. Kant also contended that citizens possessed a civil equality, which relieved them of being bound by law or custom to recognize any superior among themselves, and political independence, meaning a person’s political, status stemmed from fundamental rights rather than from the will of another.4 No longer were citizens to be ruled arbitrarily by the state. Republican government came the closest to this ideal of citizenship. In the final analysis, as Kant and other eighteenth-century thinkers recognized, the freedom and dignity of the individual inherent in the concept of citizenship could flourish only under a republican government, and such a government could function only if its rank-and-file members understood and discharged the responsibilities of citizenship. One distinguishing feature of the modern era is the extension of citizenship. In the United States, for instance, it took many years for racial minorities, women, and individuals without property to gain the right to vote and the right to protection under the law in the exercise of their civil rights. Yet, as the number of citizens (and of people in general) has risen, effective political participation for individuals has often become more difficult. It is one thing for society to embrace ideas such as citizenship for all and equal rights in theory; it is quite another to provide the civic education and social development necessary to make the ideal of a society of equals a practical reality.

POLITICAL CULTURE: DEFINING THE GOOD The Greek view of what constituted the good citizen was a reflection of the way the Greeks defined the word good. Every language in the world has a word meaning “good,” and it is arguably the most important word in any language. But every language is embedded in a culture, and no two cultures are identical.

Political Culture: Defining the Good

We are all products of the culture into which we are born. From our earliest infancy, and long before we know how to read or write, we learn to talk. Along with the language, we also learn about our environment, which includes both tangible and intangible things. Among the most important intangibles are values—that is, what our parents or other guardians say is “good” or “bad.” In the process of learning the difference between good and bad (picking up our toys is “good” and not eating our vegetables is “bad”), we also learn about right and wrong. Crossing the line from “good” and “bad” in word and deed to “right” and “wrong” in thought and sentiment is a giant step across a great chasm—it is the difference between outward behavior and inner motives, beliefs, and desires. Culture, in the sense that anthropology and political science use the word, is all about established norms, customs, and traditions—in other words, how society defines right and wrong and about what “the good life,” or the word good itself, means in a given place and time. There is no universally accepted definition of “the good life” in this world for the simple reason that there is no universal culture. Culture has many meanings. Here we are interested primarily in the aspects of culture that are related to politics—what scholars often call political culture. Political culture encompasses the prevailing moral values, beliefs, and myths people live by and are willing to die for. It also includes the collective memory of a society—the history we learn about in grade school; what we come to know about our leaders, about crises we have survived as a nation, and about wars we have fought. Virtually anything and everything that shapes our shared perceptions of reality is part of our political culture. This collective memory and these shared perceptions differ depending on the specifics of geography, climate, terrain, and other physical circumstances, as well as certain accidental factors—for example, the presence or absence of hostile and aggressive neighbors. Small nations often have a history of being subjugated by powerful neighbors. Island peoples, such as the British and the Japanese, have a history that differs in fundamental ways from landlocked nations, owing to the absence of shared borders. The success of the thirteen American colonies in breaking away from the British Empire, as well as the United States’ historic isolationism, would not have been possible without the benevolent presence of two great oceans. Religion has played a major role in shaping political culture (for example, the Puritans of colonial times and the Religious Right today). We cannot understand Western civilization without reference to Roman Catholicism, the Reformation, and Christianity. By the same token, Islam forms the moral core of life in the Arab Middle East, as well as in much of South, Central, and Southeast Asia (see Figure 10.1). The same is true of Hinduism in India; Buddhism in Cambodia, Tibet, and Thailand; Taoism and Confucianism in China; and Shinto, as well as Buddhism, in Japan. Even where secularization has eroded religious beliefs (as in the West), the stamp of religion on political culture is both undeniable and indelible (see Box 10.2). We are often bemused, perplexed, or outraged by the reactions and perceptions of others. We wonder what they must be thinking. How could anyone, for example, condone the actions of terrorists whose victims are often innocent bystanders? We tend to think those whose take on reality is different from our own are ignorant,

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political culture The moral values, beliefs, and myths people live by and are willing to die for. collective memory The things we learn about in grade school—what we come to ‘‘know’’ about our leaders, about crises we have survived as a nation, and about wars we have fought.

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BOX 10.2 SPOTLIGHT ON

Political Socialization

The United States, Islam, and the Tao

positive attitudes and good acts, which brings us back to the Tao. What Lewis called the Tao teaches respect for authority, humility, honesty, charity, generosity, and so forth—in short, the way to live in harmony with oneself, others, and nature. Political culture cannot be distilled from moral and religious teachings alone; indeed, politics is not what Lewis’s book is about. But his views on the role of public education in developing a sense of right and wrong—a civic culture that supports democratic processes and institutions—have significant implications for students of politics. The prevalence and intensity of faith-based politics in today’s world serves to remind us that the nexus between education and values, the province of religion and morality, remains an important question—one involving a battle for control over not only the Islamic world’s political culture but also the political culture of the United States.

In his provocative little book The Abolition of Man (New York: Macmillan, 1947), C. S. Lewis argued that “the Tao” could be found in civilizations, cultures, and religions the world over. Taoism originated in China in ancient times. The Tao is “the way”—the source of all knowledge about nature and truth, the key to inner peace and social harmony. Lewis noted that this type of metaphysical reasoning and the moral values it fostered are found in religions and ethical systems all over the world. He cites many “Illustrations of the Tao” drawn “from such sources as come readily to the hand of one who is not a professional historian.” Lewis makes a powerful case for humanistic education—that is, for teaching people to love truth and justice. Learning to love truth and justice, Lewis suggested, is the key to civil society, because people are not simply rational beings and do not naturally behave according to reason. It is necessary, therefore, that society finds ways to link human emotions with

FIGURE 10.1 Religion exerts a powerful influence on the political ideas, values, and aspirations of people all over the world. With an estimated 1.5 billion adherents, Islam is the second-largest body of believers in the world. (Christianity is the first, with roughly 2.1 billion.)

A world of faith Muslim populations RUSSIA 26.7 m

NORTH AMERICA

EUROPEAN

10.4 m

AZERBAIJAN & THE STANS 48.5 m

TURKEY

UNION

62.4 m

10.0 m

P A C I F I C CHINA

AT L A N T I C OCEAN

P A C I F I C

IRAN 65.4 m

ARAB LEAGUE

133.1 m

O C E A N

284.4 m

OTHER SOUTH-

O C E A N

LATIN AND

INDIA

EAST ASIA

133.3 m

30.0 m

CENTRAL AMERICA 2.2 m

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

PA KISTAN & BANGLADESH 230.0 m

254.0 m

AFGHANISTAN

A T L A N T I C

Total Worldwide: 1.5 billion

O C E A N

22.7 m

I N D I A N

O C E A N

INDONESIA 196.3 m

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misguided, or even depraved. In fact, profound differences in perception, outlook, and behavior can often be traced to differences in political culture. A political culture is like a filter for our personal experiences—without it we lack any common interpretation of reality. Without a shared reality, we lack the basis for a community or society. We can study political culture in several different ways. We can look at its sources in society (geography, climate, history, religion, and the like); at its manifestations (attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, and prejudices); or at its effects (actions and public policies). As is often the case, however, the closer we look, the more complicated the picture becomes.5 Another way to think about political culture is in terms of one national political culture and many regional and local political subcultures. College students have an opportunity to research this question themselves by simply engaging classmates from different states or regions of the country—and from different countries—in conversations about growing up. Comparing your own upbringing with those of others from different backgrounds can be both fun and enlightening. In the next section, we look at the ingenious ways societies sow the seeds of political culture. Consider this: are our ideas about “first things” (good and bad, right and wrong) really our ideas at all—or were they implanted at a young age, long before we had any idea of them?

POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION: FORMING CITIZENS Though we can dispute the proper definition of citizenship, most people agree that good citizens are made, not born. Children grow up to be responsible citizens through the interplay of various influences and institutions—including family, religion, school, peer groups, the mass media, and the law. The process of being conditioned to think and behave in a socially acceptable manner is called socialization. Every self-sustaining society inculcates in its citizens certain basic values necessary to establish and perpetuate a political order. Even as staunch an individualist as the British philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) acknowledged that the sense of citizen loyalty or allegiance “may vary in its objects and is not confined to any particular form of government; but whether in a democracy or in a monarchy its essence is always . . . that there be in the constitution of the state something which is settled, something permanent, and not to be called into question; something which, by general agreement, has a right to be where it is, and to be secure against disturbance, whatever else may change.”6 Political socialization is the process whereby citizens develop the values, attitudes, beliefs, and opinions that enable them to support the political system.7 This process begins with the family.

political socialization The process by which members of a community are taught the basic values of their society and are thus prepared for the duties of citizenship.

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The Family The family exerts the first and most important influence on the formation of individual values. Different political regimes view the family in different ways. Some governments support and nurture the family; others choose to remain indifferent toward it; a few seek to undermine it and regard the love and loyalty that flow from family ties as subversive to the state. Despite these varying reactions, all governments recognize the importance of the family in the socialization process. Even nations that publicly proclaim the value of the traditional family, however, may not be able to ensure its success in society. The number of children living in single-parent households in the United States, for example, has risen dramatically since the 1960s, due to rising divorce rates, changes in sexual mores, teenage pregnancies, and other social changes. Whereas in 1970 about 12 percent of all children were living in single-parent households, by the mid1990s (according to Census Bureau data) that figure had more than doubled to 28 percent. In 1998, some 20 million children in the United States were living with a single parent. These numbers have since leveled off, but the likelihood of living with two married parents for a child in the United States had declined from 85 percent to just over 67 percent in 2006. Poverty and lack of education are major causes of divorce. Moreover, the problem is self-perpetuating. Studies confirm that children raised in single-parent families are at greater risk than those in two-parent families to drop out of school, to become involved with crime and illegal drugs, to be unemployed (or underemployed) and poor, and to have failed marriages and personal relationships as adults—a vicious cycle.8 Of course, single-parent families are often successful, and many children raised by single parents become well-adjusted adults. Indeed, if one parent is physically or emotionally abusive, it is often better for a child to be nurtured (and protected) only by the parent who is not. Children are first socialized at home, within the family structure, learning what is and what is not permissible, with rewards and punishment to reinforce daily behavior. In this manner, parents make the obligations of children to the family and to others clear. Slowly, children become citizens of the family, often with clearly defined responsibilities and occasionally with rights or privileges. Parents emphasize moral ground rules, even if they don’t always specify the reasons for them (“Do it because I said so”). Trust, cooperation, self-esteem, respect for others, and empathy, each rooted in family relations, bear on the behavioral and moral development of individuals.9 Where discipline is lacking and parents are overly permissive, children are given rights and privileges with few if any responsibilities. In such cases, socialization is impeded to the extent it fails to produce behaviors conducive to social harmony, civility and civic duty, or leads to narcissism, self-promotion, and a tendency to exploit others. The family also helps determine the direction the ultimate political socialization of children takes and how successful it will be. Party orientation and even affiliation often derive from the family, especially when both parents belong to the same party. In the United States, about 70 percent of children whose parents

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both have the same party affiliation favor that party too.10 In addition, the family exerts a powerful influence on religious persuasion, which tends to correlate highly with party affiliation, as well as with certain political opinions (fundamentalist Protestants tend to oppose abortion; Jews tend to support Israel; and so on).11 However, studies indicate that when it comes to opinions about more abstract political issues, parental influence is quite limited.12 As adults, we often find ourselves at odds with our parents’ ideas about politics (among other things), a fact often attributed to “generational” differences.

Social Class and Minority Status Family interest in politics tends to increase

© BROOKS KRAFT/CORBIS NEWS/CORBIS

with social standing. Middle- and upper-class children are most likely to become actively engaged in politics; children from lower-class families are typically uninformed about politics and participate less often.13 There are many exceptions, however—four famous examples are Abraham Lincoln, Harry S. Truman, William Jefferson Clinton, and Barack Obama, all arising from humble origins to become president of the United States. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, current president of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Josephine Baker, the first African American female to star in a major motion picture, are examples of women not born to privilege who rose to great heights. Josephine Baker was born in St. Louis in 1902 and dropped out of school at the age of 12. She is best known as a recording artist and stage performer, but she was decorated for her undercover work in the French Resistance during World War II. When she died in Paris in 1975, she became the first American woman to receive French military honors at her funeral. Minority status can play a significant role in political socialization. Some researchers have found that in the United States, African-American children tend to place less trust in government, and to feel less confident of influencing it, than do white children.14 Not surprisingly, such attitudes correlate with political opinions; thus, holding social-class differences constant, black adults in the United States tend to be less conservative than whites on most economic and foreign policy issues, although not on the issue of crime. Politically, though not necessarily socially and culturally, Asian Americans tend to resemble white ethnic groups more closely than black groups, particularly on domestic social issues. Hispanic Americans The current president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became Africa’s first elected female head of state in her country’s 2005 elections. Her parents were born in poverty, but she was able to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the United States before returning to her homeland to enter the government in 1971.

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© U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY PHOTOGRAPHERS MATE 1ST CLASS ARLO K. ABRAHAMSON

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Political Socialization

A young boy awaits the arrival of the late president’s funeral motorcade at the gate of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Sim Valley, California, on June 7, 2004. This picture illustrates that children begin learning to be good citizens and to show respect for legitimate authority—important lessons in political socialization—at an early age.

tend to fall between blacks and whites. However, family socialization and the transmission of political beliefs have exerted an influence on Cuban Americans, who, as a group, tend to be more hard-line conservative, especially on foreign policy questions, than are other Hispanic-American groups, including Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. One reason is that after Cubans fled to the United States at the time of the Cuban Revolution, Cuban leader Fidel Castro confiscated their property and persecuted family members they had left behind.

gender gap A term used to refer to differences in voting between men and women in the United States; this disparity is most obvious in political issues and elections that raise the issue of appropriateness of governmental force.

Gender and Politics Like class and race, gender differences can be important independent correlates of political behavior and opinions. In the United States, the so-called gender gap—differences in the ways men and women think and vote in the aggregate—has gotten a lot of attention in recent decades. For instance, in the 1992 general elections, Bill Clinton won the women’s vote by 8 points, but won the men’s vote by only 3. Women thus helped a challenger defeat a sitting president. In 1996, the gender voting gap was even bigger. In 2008, women favored Barack Obama over John McCain by 7 points, despite the fact that McCain’s running mate was a woman, Sarah Palin. But that number does not tell the whole story: in all, eight million more women voted for Obama than for McCain, and women voters accounted for 53 percent of all the votes cast. Obama thus received a double boost from women voters—a larger percentage of a bigger vote (Table 10.1; the figures here are from the same source). The pattern is different in congressional races, however, where the gender gap is seldom apparent.

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TABLE 10. 1 The Gender Gap and the 2008 Election Women (%)

Men (%)

Barack Obama

56

49

John McCain

43

48

Sources: Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University, December, 2008; Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.

Some researchers tie gender differences to early family experiences and expectations; others contend there are innate differences in the way men and women develop moral and political awareness. One theory postulates that due to some combination of socialization and biology, women—as mothers and primary caregivers for children—tend to develop a moral and political perspective that emphasizes compassion and the protection of human life.15 An alternate theory holds that gender-based political differences are rooted in some women’s later life experiences.16 For example, working women who have been paid less than men doing the same job are likely to vote for a party or candidate that stresses fairness and equal rights. One important political difference between the sexes revolves around the government’s use of force. Women tend to be more reluctant to support war, more opposed to capital punishment, and more inclined to support gun control. Women also tend to give more support to social welfare programs intended to help families, the working poor, and the economically disadvantaged. These differences help explain why the gender gap has aided Democrats in recent years. We turn now to a factor that has aided Republicans—especially George W. Bush.

Religion Either the church or the state may present itself as the true source of moral authority, which makes religion particularly important in the socialization process. And just as religion can influence a young person’s developing political opinions, so can politics decisively shape the role of religion within the family and the place it ultimately occupies within the larger political order. Sometimes religion can legitimize existing practices and lend stability to a society in transition. Hinduism in India, for instance, has proved compatible with changing political institutions. Described by one expert as having “a multilayered complexity allowing for the existence of many gods, many incarnations, many layers of truth,”17 Hinduism has tended, historically, to support the status quo. Even when the status quo allowed systematic discrimination against a lower, “untouchable” class, Hinduism counseled patience and perseverance in anticipation of future lives to come. In other parts of the world, however, religious doctrine has ignited aggressive policies. In Libya and Iran, for instance, Islamic fundamentalism has helped fuel belligerent foreign policies and contributed to a periodic fervor for war.

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Religion and politics sometimes conflict. In Nazi Germany, the government steamrolled the Lutheran and Catholic churches. In the former Soviet Union, the regime allowed the historically entrenched Russian Orthodox Church to continue functioning but restricted and monitored its activities, frequently persecuting believers.18 In the United States, religion and politics reinforce one another at a number of levels. Although the Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution to prohibit government from directly supporting religion, the First Amendment also clearly prohibits government from denying an individual’s free exercise of religion. Religion continues to flourish in the United States. In the mid-1980s, “More than 90 percent of all Americans identify with some religious faith, and on any given Sunday morning more than 40 percent are to be found in church.” Furthermore, by “most measurable indices the United States is a more religious country than any European nation except Ireland and Poland.”19 But this picture appears to be changing. In 2008, in a nationwide survey 15 percent of the U.S. population claimed to have “no religion.”20 The Judeo-Christian tradition continues to be dominant in the United States, yet there is significant diversity within that tradition. Census data show numerous Protestant denominations constitute about 51 percent of the population (with Baptists constituting the largest groups at about 16 percent); Roman Catholics, 24 percent; and Jews, 1.7 percent. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, both the public reaction and the mass media focused attention on the fact that there is also a Muslim minority in the United States, although it is relatively small (0.6 percent). There are more Buddhists in the United States than Muslims. Important political differences correlate with these differences in religious orientation, some even arising from the religious doctrines themselves. Quakers and Mennonites tend to be pacifists, while, as previously mentioned, fundamentalist Protestants tend to oppose abortion and Jews generally favor Israel. By the same token, members of black Protestant churches tend to be more politically liberal than are Protestants affiliated with mainstream churches, and members of mainstream churches tend to be more politically liberal than their evangelical Protestant counterparts. More generally, on a scale measuring political conservatism and liberalism, Protestants tend to be somewhat more conservative than Catholics and much more conservative than Jews. Jews and Catholics have historically identified more with the Democratic Party, while Protestants have leaned toward the Republican Party, though the correlation between religion and party affiliation appeared to be weakening until George W. Bush received 56 percent of the Protestant vote and Al Gore (the Democratic candidate) only 42 percent in the 2000 presidential election. Gore won among Catholic voters, however, with 50 percent to Bush’s 47. Arguably, religion also has a utilitarian political value in the United States. In this view, religion benefits public life by providing, in George Washington’s words, an “indispensable support” for representative government. By teaching that everyone is equal in God’s eyes, religion inculcates a private morality that can elevate public life.

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© CORBIS

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968) mixed religion and racial equality in his message of unity and nonviolence.

Sometimes political leaders draw on religious imagery to unite citizens in a common understanding of the present or point them toward a more noble vision of the future.21 For example, the famous U.S. clergyman and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired the nation with his dream of a day “when all of God’s children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’” The tragic assassination of King, like the assassination of Abraham Lincoln a century earlier, helped rally the U.S. people to the cause of racial equality. The election of George W. Bush in 2000 elevated the importance of religion in national politics. As part of his so-called faith-based initiative program, Bush asked Congress to allow religious organizations to compete for government contracts and grants without a strict separation of religious activities and social service programs. But it was the shock of September 11, 2001, that changed everything. Suddenly, the role of religion in world politics was on everyone’s mind. Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network gave the world a horrifying glimpse of religion’s dark side in the fall of 2001, when they attempted to unite the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims against the “Crusaders” (Christians and Jews) in a jihad, or holy war. Al Qaeda obliterated the distinction between religion and ideology and used Islam as an instrument of war against the West.

Schools Schools play a vital role in civic education. In effect, the state uses schools as instruments of political socialization. Some governments merely prescribe one or two courses in civics or history, require students to salute the flag, and hang a few pictures of national heroes on school walls. Other governments dictate the entire school curriculum, indoctrinate the children with slogans and catch phrases,

civic education The process of inculcating in potential citizens the fundamental values and beliefs of the established order.

314

liberal education A type of education often associated with private colleges in the United States; stresses the development of critical thinking skills through the study of literature, philosophy, history, and science. peer group A group of people similar in age and characteristics.

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heavily censor textbooks and library acquisitions, and subject teachers to loyalty tests. Different regimes inculcate different values. Under some regimes (for example, the Soviet Union in the 1930s), blind obedience to authority is the norm. In others, patriotism is encouraged, but so is the habit of critical and independent thinking. Socialization studies tell us a lot about how children learn civic values in school.22 During the elementary school years, children develop positive emotional attachments to key political concepts such as liberty and democracy and respect for others. Young children also learn to think of the government in terms of an authority figure—a police officer, the president, and so on. As we mature, cognition comes into play; we begin to grasp abstract concepts such as democracy. During adolescence and early adulthood, our attitudes toward authority often change radically. We cease to obey authority without question. Increasingly, we want to decide things for ourselves—a sentiment readily transferable to the political realm. High school civics classes are probably less important than the total educational experience.23 Lessons and stories on the nation’s history, formal rituals such as reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, patriotic music, and extracurricular activities like sports, band, debate, and writing for the school newspaper all can convey the importance of responsible participation and working toward a common goal. Electing class officers and participating in student government is typically our first exercise in democracy. In general, the higher the level of education, the greater the propensity to participate in politics—at a minimum, by voting. Also, higher education correlates positively with personal self-confidence and trust in others—personality traits that democratic political systems, based on citizen participation, require.24 In the United States, the college curriculum often represents a blend of vocational training and liberal arts—with the latter, which includes literature, philosophy, science, history, and linguistics, placing great emphasis on the development of critical thinking.25 Advocates of the liberal arts stress the importance of education not only for citizenship, but also for leadership. What such an education does, at its best, is produce adults capable of critical thinking. Evidence suggests it tends to produce more liberal adults, as well.26 The ideal of liberal education fits easily with constitutional guarantees that protect the right to question authority. It also appears to predispose citizens to do so.27 Significantly, it is only in democracies that independent thinking and dissent are actually encouraged. Recall that the Greek philosopher Socrates was considered subversive and sentenced to death, not for teaching his students what to think but for teaching them how to think.

Peer Groups A peer group can refer either to a group of people who are friends, or to people of similar age and characteristics. The concept of peers itself arises from “the tendency for individuals to identify with groups of people like themselves.”28

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Peer groups exert considerable influence over our political activities and beliefs, but there has been little research on the influence of peer groups in politics.29 The relationship between gang membership and the development of antisocial attitudes by adolescent male lawbreakers, for example, is a matter of more than academic interest. Although it seems likely the linkage between peer groups and gangs is one key to understanding teenage crime, it is still not clear whether “good” boys (and girls) become “bad” because they join the wrong crowd or whether they join the wrong crowd because they are bad. We do know that membership in a gang increases the frequency with which the average teenager commits crimes. According to one study, peers and gangs “can affect the value a person assigns to the rewards of crime (by adding the approval of colleagues to the perceived value of the loot or the direct gratification of the act).”30 Psychologically, peer groups fulfill a member’s need for approval, which affects the formation of political attitudes and beliefs. Generally speaking, peer groups are formed voluntarily and informally. If we expand the peergroup concept to encompass such organizations as the Girl Scouts, the Young Democrats, or a high school journalism club—and then of similar organizations that operate in other political contexts—we make an important discovery, one that tyrants like Hitler and Stalin deftly exploited. The state can create peergroup structures for youth, as well as adults. These involuntary associations are typically designed to infuse ideological fervor and abject loyalty into young hearts and minds. Under the Nazi Party, for example, German life was organized through an elaborate network of state controlled associations of peers to ensure that every German would, in time, adopt correct political attitudes and be properly socialized into the new Nazi order. Similarly, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union created an all-encompassing set of centrally controlled peer organizations in the guise of clubs and civic associations. In democracies, peer groups form naturally and civic associations are independent of the state. The state plays a role in the socialization process, but does not control it.

The Mass Media The media also play a significant role in political socialization. In nondemocratic states, the mass media—that is, television, radio, newspapers, and largecirculation magazines—are almost always owned or controlled by the state. Even some democratic governments monopolize radio and television broadcasting (as in Denmark) or own and operate television networks (as in Great Britain) but strive to ensure fairness and objectivity. Television is popular even in some strict Islamic societies, where the state now uses this otherwise “decadent” source of Western pop culture to inculcate Islamic moral values. Thus, in Saudi Arabia, a traditional monarchy, stateowned television holds an annual “Miss Beautiful Morals” pageant that is the exact opposite of our beauty pageants—the physical appearance of the contestants is irrelevant (in fact, they are covered from head to foot). Rather, the

mass media The vehicles of mass communication, such as television, radio, film, books, magazines, and newspapers.

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winner is the contestant who is judged to have the most devotion and respect for her parents.31 In the United States, where the mass media are privately owned, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates radio and television. FCC rules are designed to discourage ideas, attitudes, or behavior the agency considers undesirable or unhealthy. For example, certain words cannot be uttered on television in the United States (see Box 10.3), full nudity is banned from 6:00 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and broadcasters are not permitted to air commercials for cigarettes. The FCC is also charged with promoting and preserving media competition, but in December 2007, it lifted the so-called cross-ownership ban in the twenty largest U.S. markets. Radio and television broadcasters are now allowed to own newspapers, as well. Television has become a critical source of information as U.S. adults read fewer newspapers and attend fewer political party functions.32 The high cost of television advertising—and, therefore, of running for office (see Table 10.2)— affects the quality of campaigns and candidates. Equally detrimental is the content—the vicious political attack ads—that are now a trademark of U.S. elections. Attack ads are intentionally unfair, misleading, and manipulative (see Box 10.4). They typically impugn the character and motives of the other candidate and often deliberately misrepresent his or her voting record. The way news is presented, particularly on television, is also highly suspect. Some conservative critics contend that television news (and the media in general) often reflects the political agenda or ideas of journalists and broadcasters, who are predominantly liberal. But the media’s emphasis on rumor and innuendo, as well as the right-wing bias of corporate media personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity, has blurred the difference between sensationalism and straight news. There is also justifiable criticism that media consolidation (especially for radio and newspapers) is leading to homogenized news, keyed to conservative audiences and corporate agendas. Critics fear the daily news will reflect right-wing biases while also becoming more and more like tabloid journalism or mind-numbing entertainment. There is no denying radio and television are often exceedingly superficial and sensationalistic. They look for bad news rather than important news. Television coverage of election campaigns, for example, stresses candidates’ attempts to gain strategic advantage, instead of focusing on the policies and ideas they stand for, often singling out inconsistencies and blunders. For example, a president falling down the steps of the presidential helicopter or vomiting at a formal state dinner in Japan. Meanwhile, anyone can exploit the new Internet technology, establishing websites and blogs that sometimes spread gossip while speculating about the private lives of public officials. It is little wonder the media are blamed for the sharp rise in public cynicism over the past four decades. Indeed, one mainstream political scientist argues “the United States cannot have a sensible campaign as long as it is built around the news media.”33 Television executives know that conflict and confrontation are entertaining and that, as a rule, bad news makes good ratings. For this reason also, television almost always emphasizes the “horse race” aspect of presidential elections,

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317

FCC vs. FOX TV—Unspeakable Words

The late comedian George Carlin created a sensation when he did a stand-up routine about the “seven dirty words” you cannot say on television. That routine secured Carlin’s place as one of the most famous nightclub and television comedians in recent U.S. history. But it was more than a knee-slapping “shtick”; it was also political satire at its most biting, for Carlin was raising a serious question: Does the state’s action in restricting indecent speech on television violent the citizen’s right to free speech? For several decades, the FCC’s restrictions on indecent speech allowed a fleeting swear word or curse word—that is, so long as it was

not repeated. In 2003, the FCC changed the rule to make even a fleeting indecent word impermissible, and to impose severe penalties in the form of steep fines for violations. FOX TV then sued the FCC and in November 2008 the case came before the U.S. Supreme Court. The issue: Whether the FCC provided an adequate explanation, or instead acted arbitrarily and capriciously, in changing its policy to permit isolated uses of expletives on broadcast television to be considered “indecent” under federal law. The broader issue to be decided is whether and under what conditions the state can censor speech on television.

dwelling on who is ahead, who gained, and who lost because of this gaffe or that revelation. The networks all want to be the first to call every contest. The race becomes an end in itself, and the “product” (where the candidates stand on the issues) takes a back seat to the process. In one study of network news coverage between 1968 and 1988, the average length of presidential quotations shrank from 45 seconds to 9 seconds— truncated sound bites.34 The old form of coverage—a short setup and a relatively long presidential comment—was reversed. By the late 1980s, reporters were regularly upstaging the president, commenting on his comments rather than letting him speak for himself. This trend continues, while the ratio of paid political ads to political news has also shifted dramatically. In 2006, a study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that “local newscasts in seven Midwest markets aired 4 minutes, 24 seconds of paid political ads during the typical 30-minute broadcast while dedicating an average of 1 minute, 43 seconds to election news TABLE 10.2 The Best Government Money Can Buy Campaign Spending in the 2008 Elections House

Senate

President

Democratic Party

$489.7 million

$217.1 million

$1.12 billion

Republican Party

$442.5 million

$200.6 million

$630.3 million

Total

$936.8 million

$418.4 million

$1.75 billion

SOURCE: Open Secrets.Org at .

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Political Socialization

“Opposition Research”

Increasingly, the mass media broadcast negative political advertisements. These ads may or may not be entirely truthful, but they are often very effective. Sometimes viewed as a kind of political ambush, they are the product of extensive research into the backgrounds of political opponents and are aired at strategic times during the campaign. The Internet has made this kind of dirty work much easier for those who do it. Dirt diggers can request (and often obtain) telephone records, credit checks, and court records. Opposition research—or “oppo”—is a multimillion-dollar business employing investigators, consultants, lawyers, pollsters, and media experts. Perhaps the best (or worst) example of oppo is the one that represents a turning point in U.S. political campaigns, namely the Willie Horton ad that helped defeated Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential race:

Michael Dukakis let Willie Horton out on a weekend furlough program that he supported and, of course, this murderer went on a rampage, and, of course, the rest is history. That really defined Michael Dukakis, and it really sunk his candidacy as well. Most people old enough to vote in 1988 remembers this ad, which showed a picture of inmates, including a male African American (like Willie Horton), existed through a prison gate. What is seldom remembered is that in the fall of 1988, Dukakis had a 17-point lead over George H.W. Bush. Bush won by over 7 million votes (53.4 percent to 45.6 percent), carrying all but eight states. SOURCE: Michele Norris, “Opposition Research: Know Thine Enemies,” National Public Radio (NPR), All Things Considered, February 6, 2007, accessed May 7, 2009 at .

coverage.”35 In-depth analysis, critics say, has become a casualty of Madison Avenue marketing techniques, the Nielsen ratings, and outright manipulation by highly paid professionals (see Box 10.5)—political gurus, media consultants, and spin doctors (public relations specialists). In short, a drift toward tabloid journalism and the use of the airways as a vehicle for propaganda have severely compromised the integrity of television news reporting and talk radio. This type of coverage, pandering to prurience and prejudice, increasingly crowds out honest attempts to fulfill the vital “news and information” function of the mass media.36 To make matters worse, newspapers—long the main source of information on current events for most citizens—are rapidly losing readership (see Box 10.6). Consumers are also to blame for the state of the news. The news is “dumbed down” and entertaining because that is what attracts the largest number of viewers. Knowing the average viewer has a short attention span, television news directors spotlight the razzle-dazzle of video technology, flashy computer graphics, fast-paced interviews, and rapidly changing stories, locations, and camera angles. After a hard day’s work, most viewers are not in the mood for an indepth story or analysis that confuses, upsets, or makes them think too much. The problem is that the most important political issues tend to do all three.

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Hunting for Votes, Targeting Voters*

The following is excerpted from an Internet article cited below. Not only [do candidates] choose the content of the message, they choose the demographic that views it. Candidates can strategize and break down the population into race, age, religion, and education. . . . African Americans are most often concerned with social programs and issues of social justice. Thus candidates can target Black Entertainment Television in order to spread awareness . . . and increase the name recognition within this subset of the population. Similarly, candidates may target MTV to [reach] . . . young people or the Women’s Entertainment (WE) channel for reproductive health issues. The element of control in selecting TV ad slots offers an appealing opportunity to gain support from large voting blocks. Campaign websites and use of the internet can achieve a similar goal. Candidates and avid supporters can link the campaign website with a candidate’s concise messages to special interest blogs, chat rooms, or purchase ad banner space on special interest website. . . . At the same time,

candidates may use RSS feeds, social networking updates, or even a blog on the campaign website to defend themselves from previous opposition attacks. While campaign websites may be confined initially to a single domain, the ease of copying and pasting the information into targeted demographic sites makes campaign websites an attractive proposition for candidates. Television ads, on the other hand, increase name recognition which can encourage individuals to seek out additional information from alternative sources, i.e. the internet. Both elements work together to create a cohesive candidate image which is key to generating a honest, credible image. Together these methods are considerably easier to disburse messages and garner support from large audiences, a significant advantage in comparison to face to face campaigning. SOURCE: Sarah Spiker, “Political Advertising: The Appeal of Television and Web Campaigning” accessed at http://uselections.suite.101.com. Reprinted by permission of the author.

The media’s tendency to focus on negative news serves as a reminder that freedom of speech and criticism of the government are protected rights in liberal democracies. Indeed, the content and quality of the daily news in any given country is one indicator of how much freedom exists there. Where criticism of the government is allowed, freedom is usually the norm. In the final analysis, the mass media in democratic states are both gauge and guarantor of individual freedom.

The Law The law plays an important role in socialization. Some laws are designed to promote public order (by having cars drive on the right side of the street, for example). Other laws prohibit violent or anti-social behavior society, such as murder, false advertising, theft, and racial discrimination. Equally important, the very idea of “law and order” is ingrained in us at an early age and the “rule

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Political Socialization

Media Trends: Who Needs Newspapers, Books, or Competition?

On this topic of vital interest to everyone in a democracy, the facts speak for themselves: • In early 2009, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer shut its printing presses after 146 years in business; two weeks after, the Rocky Mountain News folded. The Tucson Citizen suffered the same fate. • Daily print circulation has dropped from a peak of 62 million two decades ago to around 49 million. Online readership has risen faster, to almost 75 million people and 3.7 billion page views in January 2009, according to Nielsen Online. • In the middle of the twentieth century, 80 percent of all newspapers were independently owned. By 2004, more than 7,000 cities and towns had no locally owned newspaper. • There are 2,500 book publishers in the United States, but five giant companies produce most of the revenue. • Two retail chains (Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com) accounted for well over half of all retail book sales in the United States in 2008.

• Four major companies account for half the movie business. • Six companies account for at least 90 percent of all domestic music sales, and Apple (iTunes) became the biggest single U.S. music retailer in 2008 (19 percent), beating out Wal-mart (15 percent) for the first time. • The 1996 Telecommunications Act doubled the number of local radio stations a single company can operate and removed all limits on how many one company can own nationwide. • A single company—Clear Channel Communications—owns more than 1,200 radio stations. • By one count, the 45 top-rated talk radio shows ran 310 hours of conservative talk to a mere 5 hours that were not patently rightwing in 2004. SOURCE: NOW with Bill Moyers on PBS, February 13, 2004, http:// www.pbs.org, Digital Trends on the Internet at and author’s updates.

of law” is an essential feature of liberal democracy. Thus, the law conditions our behavior in all sorts of subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

SOCIALIZATION AND POLITICAL BEHAVIOR Fortunately, most citizens who participate in the political process choose, most of the time, to do so legally.

Political Behavior Most of us participate in politics in largely symbolic, passive, or ritualistic ways—for example, by attending a political rally, responding to a political poll, watching a candidate on television, or putting a bumper sticker on our cars.

Socialization and Political Behavior

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Participants in the Africa Action rally on September 9, 2006, are arrested for committing nonviolent civil disobedience by remaining immobile while holding signs in front of the White House—a federal crime.

Some volunteer on political campaigns (witness the huge volunteer “army” that helped Barack Obama get elected in 2008) or join such liberal public interest groups such as the Sierra Club, the American Civil Liberties Union, or MoveOn. Org, or conservative ones such as the National Right to Life Committee, the National Taxpayers Union, or the Christian Coalition. Others participate in political protests of one kind of another. In the United States, only 2 percent of those surveyed during the turbulent Vietnam War era believed violence was justified to achieve political aims.37 Support for milder forms of unconventional participation is much higher, but this support falls off sharply as the action in question approaches the line between legality and illegality.

Illegal Political Behavior Some illegal acts—in particular, those classified as civil disobedience—are intended to stir a nation’s conscience. Taking his cue from Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated civil disobedience in the struggle for racial equality in the 1960s. Civil disobedience stresses nonviolence and encourages demonstrators to accept the consequences of breaking the law, including arrest and detention. Other forms of illegal political behavior include violence. Terrorism uses mass violence against civil society (noncombatants) for political aims. Subversion attempts to undermine a government, often with outside assistance. Sedition incites rebellious acts. In some troubled parts of the world, the line between legal and illegal is morally ambiguous. Where people are victimized by government or by a dominant class or ethnic group, the moral basis for law and authority often erodes. Even in the United States, illegal forms of political behavior have not always been considered “un-American.”

terrorism Political activity that relies on violence or the threat of violence to achieve its ends. subversion The attempt to undermine a government, often using outside assistance. sedition Inciting rebellion or other antigovernment acts; fomenting revolution.

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Agitating for independence from Great Britain in colonial times, for example, was certainly illegal, if not treasonous. Had the American Revolution failed, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, among other leaders of the revolt, would probably have been hanged. Before the Civil War, the “underground railroad” that helped fugitive slaves escape bondage was a clear violation of federal law by many otherwise law-abiding citizens, especially in northern states like Massachusetts and New York. The underground railroad could not have existed without a network of activists who considered slavery a desecration of a “higher law,” nor could these activists have themselves escaped prosecution without the cooperation of family, friends, and neighbors. In sum, there are a few examples of illegal political behavior in our own history that we now celebrate. But, in general, actions directed against a representative government are, by definition, also directed against the majority.

WHEN POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION FAILS A nation’s political culture reflects the fundamental values its people hold dear. These values need not be entirely consistent and may even conflict at times. Nor will day-to-day political beliefs and actions of individual citizens always conform to the ideals people hold dear in the abstract.38 But a steady state requires an established political culture consisting of shared values. In democracies, these values set a very high standard—too high, in fact, to be fully attainable. And yet the standard is keeping at the forefront and it is the striving for a perfection never achieved that, in many ways, defines democracy and distinguishes it from its alternatives. In the United States, private values correlate highly with key public (or civic) values.39 Accordingly, U.S. adults generally profess a strong belief in basic liberal values: personal freedom, political equality, private ownership of property, and religious tolerance. Not only are these values expressed in the nation’s fundamental documents and writings, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and The Federalist Papers, but they are also instilled in U.S. youth by a variety of socialization strategies. In other democratic societies, the process of socialization works the same way and serves the same purposes. But the expression of such core values as liberty, equality, security, prosperity, and justice (see Chapter 13), as well as the precise content and balance among them, vary significantly from one country to another. In Europe, “equality” is more often about class consciousness than civil rights. As a result, the state provides a much wider range of social services (including guaranteed universal health care) than in the United States. By the same token, love of liberty in Europe does not impede the police in criminal investigations the way it often does in the United States, nor does it entail the right of private citizens to own deadly weapons. When a multiethnic nation fails to politically socialize large numbers of citizens as members of a single community—in effect, a new nation—the consequences are

Summary

far-reaching. If there are multiple communities, there will be multiple processes going on and multiple political cultures being perpetuated. Members of the various sub-national communities will not be successfully integrated into the political system, and they will not share the norms, rules, and laws of the society. Some citizens may never become fully socialized politically. A state’s failure to socialize its citizens may result from its unequal or unfair treatment of them. Citizens may then become angry, cynical, or embittered, or they may even turn to crime or revolution. In extreme cases of unjust, tyrannical government, citizens’ “crimes” may be viewed as actions taken justifiably. Thus, while the failure of political socialization is always detrimental to the government in power, the moral and political implications of that failure are not always as easy to evaluate.

GATEWAYS TO THE WORLD: EXPLORING CYBERSPACE www.politicsol.com/quiz.html Did this chapter make you think about how you have been socialized? How politically knowledgeable a citizen are you? This site provides a political IQ quiz geared specifically to U.S. politics. www.icpsr.umich.edu/GSS This site provides access to public opinion data from the General Social Survey. Here, students can examine—and even perform calculations on—actual data from the archives at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR.), housed in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. www.electionstudies.org The National Elections Studies website provides an excellent source of information about the demographic and behavioral aspects of the U.S. electorate and its development over time. http://moneyline.cq.com/pml/home.do CQ MoneyLine is an online service of Congressional Quarterly, Inc., containing a complete set of current “Money in Politics Databases” (see also CQPolitics.com).

SUMMARY Different governments treat the concept of citizenship in different ways. All states demand adherence to the rules (laws), of course, and most treat birth in, or naturalization into, the political order as a requirement of citizenship. In democratic states, the concept of citizenship is also tied to the ideas of equality

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and liberty, as well as to meaningful participation in politics, such as voting in periodic elections. This ideal of democratic citizenship dates back to the ancient Greek city-states, which were small enough to permit direct democracy (self-representation of enfranchised adults through public assemblies and plebiscites). Political socialization is the process whereby citizens develop the values, attitudes, beliefs, and opinions that enable them to relate to and function within the political system. Specific influences on the developing citizen include the family, religion, public education, the mass media, the law, peer groups, and key political values. Political socialization is of paramount importance; if a nation fails to socialize its citizenry on a large-scale basis, its political stability can be endangered.

KEY TERMS citizenship selective service political culture collective memory political socialization

gender gap civic education liberal education peer group mass media

terrorism subversion sedition

REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. Why was the concept of citizenship of central importance to Aristotle and other political thinkers? 2. In what contrasting ways can we define citizenship? Which definition best describes your understanding of citizenship? Explain your choice. 3. It is sometimes argued that true citizenship can be found only in a democracy. What does this statement mean? Do you agree with it? Why or why not? 4. What factors influence the political socialization of citizens? Which ones do you think have been most influential on you? On your peers? Your parents?

RECOMMENDED READING Almond, Gabriel, and Sidney Verba. The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, 1989. An influential comparative study of politics and political culture in the United States, Great Britain, former West Germany, Italy, and Mexico. Alterman, Eric. What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News. New York: Basic Books, 2003. The author refutes the charge that the news has a liberal bias and makes a compelling (if controversial) argument that it reflects the corporate culture of the giant media conglomerates who control the industry. Bennett, Lance W. News: The Politics of Illusion (8th Edition) (Longman Classics in Political Science). White Plains, NY: Longman, 2008. An intriguing analysis of television news. Raises the central question: How well does the news serve the needs of democracy?

Recommended Reading

Dalton, Russell J. Citizen Politics: Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Societies. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2008. A popular comparative study of political attitudes and behavior in the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany. Franken, Al. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. New York: Dutton, 2003. A comedian turned political activist (and now the apparent winner of a recount in the pivotal 2008 Minnesota race for the United States Senate) gives the right-wing media a taste of its own medicine using his Harvard graduate students as research assistants to write a best-selling book that started out as a class project. Graber, Doris. Media Power in Politics. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2007. This book looks at recent scholarship on traditional and new (electronic) media and analyzes the role of “media power” in U.S. politics. Glendon, Mary Ann, and David Blankenhorn, eds. Seedbeds of Virtue: Sources of Competence, Character, and Citizenship in American Society. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1995. Thoughtful essays discuss the role of virtue and values in the contemporary formation of the American character. Holloway, Harry, and John George. Public Opinion, 2nd ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985. A thoughtful general introduction to the U.S. political culture. Jones, Jeffrey P. Entertaining Politics: New Political Television and Civic Culture (Communication, Media, and Politics). New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2004. Explores the role of political comedy and satire on television in shaping the way we think about candidates, issues, and politics. Lipset, Seymour Martin. American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. New York: Norton, 1996. According to Lipset, U.S. exceptionalism resides in its culture and its creed, including liberalism, individualism, egalitarianism, populism, voluntarism, and moralism. Moore, Barrington. The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1993. A classic study. The New York Times Review of Books calls it, “A landmark in comparative history and a challenge to scholars of all lands who are trying to learn how we arrived at where we are now.” Patterson, Thomas E. Out of Order. New York: Vintage, 1994. The author makes a convincing case that the media has distorted and undermined the integrity of U.S. elections. Wald, Kenneth. Religion and Politics in the United States, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1996. A comprehensive account of the relationship between public life and religion in contemporary America. Walzer, Michael. Obligations: Essays on Disobedience, War, and Citizenship. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982. A collection of philosophical essays dealing with the meaning of citizenship by one of the leading socialist thinkers in the United States. Westin, Drew. The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation. New York: Perseus, 2007. A recent study on a topic of enormous relevance to the viability of democracy at a time when the spectacle of zealots taking center stage in politics is all too familiar— both at home and abroad. Wilson, James Q. The Moral Sense. New York: Free Press, 1995. How is it that people come to act morally? Wilson fuses theory and social science research in the search for an answer.

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President Obama’s response to the global recession in 2008-2009 called for sacrifices on the part of both big business and organized labor, but assembly-line shutdowns and job losses in the hard-hit auto industry, among others, gave rise to working class discontent. Peaceful street demonstrations, like the one depicted here, are a form of political participation guaranteed by the First Amendment as part of the Bill of Rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

1

1

Political Participation The Price of Influence

Defining Participation Public Opinion Polls Elections Electoral Systems Direct Democracy Rationalizing Participation: Why Vote? Voting in the United States Patterns of Participation Private Pursuits and the Public Good Affluence and Apathy Participating as a Spectator: Outsiders Participating as a Player: Insiders Elitist Theories: Iron Laws and Ironies Pluralists Versus Elitists Participation and Political Parties American Democracy: No Place for a Party? General Aims One-Party Dominant Systems

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Competitive Party Systems The Architecture of Democracy Is the Party Over? Participation and Interest Groups Sources and Methods of Influence The Great Race: Getting Ahead of the PAC The Eclipse of the Public Interest

M

any of us hold certain unexamined assumptions about democracy and political participation:

• The more citizens participate, the healthier the democracy. • Participation is natural; that is, citizens want to participate. • The average voter is knowledgeable; that is, participants know and understand the political choices they make. • Public opinion matters. These assumptions are worth examining, but first we look at the ways citizens participate in the political process.

DEFINING PARTICIPATION Citizens in democracies participate in politics by expressing opinions and casting votes. Polls focus attention on public opinion and give it clear definition.

Defining Participation

Box 11.1 FOCUS ON

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Public Opinion: Just How Stupid Are We?

In his book entitled Just How Stupid Are We? (New York: Basic Books, 2008), historian Rick Shenkman asks, Why do we value polls when most citizens do not know enough to make a reasoned judgment? He is not alone in wondering. “Americans are too ignorant to vote.” That was the conclusion of a report from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute on the state of civic literacy in the United States, published in late 2008.* Nearly half the 2,500 voting-age adults in the study (including college students, elected officials, and other citizens) flunked a 33-question test on basic civics. Consider these results: • Only 17 percent of college graduates knew the difference between free markets and central planning • Only 27 percent of elected officials could name a right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment • Asked what the Electoral College does, 43 percent of elected officials were stumped

• Almost half the elected officials (46 percent) in the study did not know the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war. The authors of this study recommend reforms in the higher-education curriculum to correct the problem. Shenkman, founder of George Mason University’s History News Network, suggests requiring students to read newspapers and giving college freshmen weekly quizzes on current events. He would subsidize newspaper subscriptions and college tuition for students who perform well on civics tests.* In the meantime, don’t expect government to do anything about the problem. After all, most elected officials can’t pass a basic civic literacy test themselves.

*Kathleen Parker, “Disheartening Finds about Civic Literacy,” Washington Post, November 26, 2008, http:// www.washingtonpost.com

Public Opinion Politicians who swim against the tide of public opinion can find themselves out of a job come the next election. In theory, citizens thus have a powerful voice in shaping government policies. But in practice it is not so simple: public opinion is often divided, changes over time, varies from place to place, and is difficult to measure accurately. As we will see, it is also elusive—different polls on the same issue or candidate often produce conflicting results. Politicians do pay attention to opinion polls, but is public opinion a reliable guide? (See Box 11.1.) Should elected officials decide where they stand on a given issue or how to vote on a legislative proposal based on what we say, or should they vote as they see fit and simply explain their reasons to us? As we will see in Chapter 12, this question is at the root of two opposing theories of representation. What is public opinion? Is it a fine blend of collective wisdom, rational thought, and well-informed judgment, or a witch’s brew of gut feelings, prejudices, and preconceptions based on scanty information? Answer: Both. (It was a trick question.)

public opinion In general, the ideas and views expressed by taxpayers and voters; when a majority of the people hold strong opinions one way or the other on a given issue or policy question, it tends to sway legislators and decision-makers who know they will be held accountable at the next election.

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Political Participation

The Political Uses (and Abuses) of Polls

Traditionally, polls measured public opinion after political leaders took positions or enacted legislation. Increasingly in election campaigns, however, polling has become future oriented, to determine what positions candidates ought to take or how positions are to be advanced or what advertisements will project positive candidate images. This use of public opinion is strategic polling. To gauge whether a political advertisement or position will be popular, focus groups, small numbers of people led by a professional communi-

cations expert, are asked to react to and discuss particular agenda items. Electronic polling has made possible the dial group, in which individuals use a dial to register instant approval or disapproval. Strategic polling, even among incumbents, has become a fact of political life. In the 2008 presidential election, the Obama campaign was particularly adept in using polls to determine how to frame not only the issues but also the message, including slogans like “Yes, we can” and “Change you can believe in.”

Polls straw poll Unscientific survey; simple, inexpensive poll open to all sorts of manipulation and misuse. public opinion polling Canvassing citizens for their views. random sampling A polling method that involves canvassing people at random from the population; the opposite of stratified sampling. stratified sampling A manner of polling in which participants are chosen on the basis of age, income, socioeconomic background, and the like, so that the sample mirrors the larger population; the opposite of random sampling.

The first attempts to measure public opinion were straw polls—unscientific opinion samples nineteenth-century newspapers used to predict a winner in the run-up to elections. Local news sources still sometimes use straw polls today. But there is never any guarantee that the sample in such a poll is representative of the population as a whole. The Literary Digest poll that predicted Alf Landon would defeat Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 is a famous case in point. Although the Literary Digest had correctly predicted the outcome of the three previous presidential elections, in 1936 its poll missed by a mile: Roosevelt won big. Where did this particular poll go wrong? The names in the sample were taken from the telephone directory and automobile registration lists—two very unrepresentative rosters at the time, because only rich people could afford telephones and cars during the Great Depression. Incidentally, that was the end of the Literary Digest’s polling and, for all practical purposes, of the Literary Digest itself. In 1938, it went out of business. Over the past few decades, public opinion polling has improved. In the preferred method, a random sampling of citizens is drawn from the entire population, or universe, being polled. (Statisticians have deemed a sample of 1,500 respondents ideal for polls of large numbers of people.) In a cross-section of this kind, differences in age, race, religion, political orientation, education, and other factors approximate those within the larger population. Because it is not always possible to conduct hundreds of separate interviews, pollsters sometimes use smaller, pre-selected samples based on such key characteristics as age, religion, income, and party affiliation. This is stratified sampling. Exit polling, which permits television networks to predict political winners as the polls close by surveying departing voters, illustrates two levels of stratified polling. First, pollsters identify precincts that statistically approximate the

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Students marching for freedom of speech in Caracas, Venezuela after President Hugo Chavez closed down a popular television channel. Note that many of the student demonstrators’ hands are painted white as a sign of peaceful intentions, but the government nonetheless accused them of being violent.

larger political entity (a congressional district, a state, or the nation). Then they try to select a sample that reflects the overall characteristics of the precinct. Tracking polls repeatedly sample the same voters during the course of a campaign to identify shifts in voter sentiment and correlate them with media strategy, voter issues, candidates’ gaffes, and so forth. To discover which campaign strategies are working and which are not, candidates often use tracking polls in conjunction with focus groups and other campaign instruments (see Box 11.2). Polls are useful predictive instruments, but they are not infallible. In general, they have a margin of error of 3 percent at the .05 level of confidence, which means 95 in 100 times the error is no more than 3 percent in either direction. The exact wording of a given instrument is important for issues about which most people do not have well-formed opinions. Given a choice between two policy alternatives (for example, “Should the federal government see to it that all people have housing, or should individuals provide for their own housing?”), some respondents can be so influenced by the order in which the policies appear that a 30 percent variance between them may result, depending solely on which comes first in the question.1 The way a question is phrased can also make a big difference. For example, “Do you support the right to life?” is likely to produce very different results from, “Do you support the right to terminate a pregnancy in the first trimester?” Polls not only measure public opinion but also influence it. A question that frames smoking in terms of freedom to exercise a personal choice will yield a higher rate of approval for smoking than a question that mentions the health risks of secondhand smoke. Candidates, corporations, and organized interest groups of all kinds can often obtain the results they want through careful phrasing of their questions. Unfortunately, stacking the deck this way is a common practice in both the public and the private sectors. Today, literally hundreds of polls are taken in a presidential election year. More polls do not necessarily mean better results,2 though in the last three

tracking poll Repeated sampling of voters to assess shifts in attitudes or behavior over time.

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presidential elections they have been quite accurate. Indeed, the “poll of polls” (the average of all the major surveys) in the 2008 presidential election was right on the money. Nearly two dozen polls taken on the eve of the election projected an Obama advantage of 7.52 percentage points on average; Obama’s actual margin of victory was 7.2 percent.3 But even at its best, political polling presents certain hazards. First, polls are only snapshots of public opinion, and public opinion is subject to rapid change. Second, as polling has become more widespread and intrusive, citizens are becoming less cooperative (despite pollsters’ assurances of anonymity) and probably less truthful as well. Third, there are important methodological differences among the various polls. The biggest is the way polling organizations count the “undecided” voter and how they predict who the “likely” voter will be. A president’s popularity as reflected in public opinion polls often weighs heavily in the relationship between the president and Congress. During President Obama’s “First 100 Days,” for example, the White House was able to push the largest economic stimulus package and largest federal budget in U.S. history through Congress, thanks in no small part to public opinion polls showing widespread voter approval of Obama’s leadership.

Elections Polls and elections are closely related. In fact, elections are polls—the most accurate ones of all because the “sample” includes everybody who actually votes. Free elections are tied to the concept of representation—indeed, representative democracy and republic are synonymous.

Limitations of Elections Ideally, elections should enable a democratic society to translate the preferences of its citizens into laws and policies. In reality, elections often produce disappointing or indecisive results for a long list of reasons, including the following: • If public opinion is ill defined or badly divided, elected officials get mixed signals. • The great expenditure of time and money required to run for public office gives a huge advantage to incumbents and discourages many potential challengers. • To attract as many voters or interest groups as possible, candidates often waffle on issues, giving voters a choice between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. • Powerful lobbies and a convoluted budget process preoccupy, and occasionally paralyze, Congress. • Politicians frequently say one thing and do another. Despite these limitations, elections are indispensable to democracy. Contrary to popular opinion, campaign promises are often kept.4 Elected officials sometimes turn out to be duds or disappointments, but they are seldom surprises; often what you see is what you get. And when candidates do break election promises, they risk paying a heavy price.

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Electoral Systems Electoral systems vary greatly. We begin with the familiar and then look at some of the alternatives.

Winner-Takes-All Systems Most voters in the United States would have dif-

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ficulty explaining how the U.S. electoral system works. Members of Congress are elected by plurality vote in single-member districts—that is, in the winner-takes-all system, which means that only one representative is elected from each electoral district, and the candidate who gets the most votes in the general election wins the seat. Because a state’s two senators are elected in different years, entire states function as single-member districts. Finally, the 50 states are each single-member districts in the presidential race, because all the electoral votes in any state are awarded to the electors of the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in that particular state. The practical implications of such a system are wide ranging. In any election within a single-member district, if only two candidates are seeking office, one of them necessarily will receive a simple majority, defined as the largest bloc of votes. If three or more candidates are vying for a seat, however, the one who receives the greatest number of votes is elected. In a five-way race, for example, a candidate could win with 25 percent (or less) of the votes. As we shall see, this method of election strongly favors the emergence of a two-party system. The effects of winner-takes-all, also known as first past the post, electoral systems are graphically illustrated by the hypothetical U.S. congressional race depicted in Table 11.1. This system has at least one important advantage: It produces clear winners. A simple majority (or plurality) decides who will represent the district. In the table, John Liberal is the clear winner. But there is a price to be paid for this convenient result—a majority (57 percent of the electorate) did not

winner-takes-all system Electoral system in which the candidate receiving the most votes wins. simple majority The largest bloc of voters in an election. first past the post An electoral system used in the United Kingdom and the United States in which legislative candidates run in single-member districts and the winner is decided by plurality vote; this system favors broadbased, entrenched political parties and tends toward a twoparty configuration. Critics contend that it is undemocratic because it places a huge hurdle in the path of small or new parties and forces voters to decide between voting for a major-party candidate near the center of the political spectrum and wasting their votes on a thirdparty candidate who cannot possibly win.

At present, voters cast ballots in elections held all over the world, but the rules (for example, who is eligible to vote) and precise workings of electoral systems vary greatly from country to country.

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TABLE 11.1

Hypothetical Political Race

Party

Candidate

Votes Received

Percent of Vote

Democratic

John Liberal

25,800

43

Republican

Jane Conservative

24,600

41

Independent

Ima Nothing

9,600

16

vote for him. For all it mattered, they might as well have stayed home. Neither the policies advocated by candidates Jane Conservative and Ima Nothing nor the preferences of the majority in this congressional district will be represented. Under this system, one of the two major parties in every election invariably gains representation disproportionate to the actual size of the popular vote it receives, at the expense of the other major party and any minor parties in the race. Hence, a major party receiving 40 percent to 45 percent of the popular vote may win a clear majority of legislative seats, as normally happens in British elections. This type of distortion is so pronounced in the United Kingdom that a major party receiving fewer than half the votes can sometimes win in a landslide (an election resulting in a huge parliamentary majority). In this way, the winner-takes-all electoral system encourages the emergence of two major political parties and hampers the growth of smaller political parties and splinter groups. The advantage is greater political stability, compared with many multiparty systems. Some critics feel, however, that such stability is achieved at the expense of representative democracy’s very essence—that is, its emphasis on a government that reflects the will and preferences of the majority. Because the winner-takes-all system does not represent the total spectrum of voter opinions and interests, critics point out, it tends to magnify the legislative power of the major party or parties and stifle attempts of minor parties to secure a legislative toehold.

Proportional Representation Systems The alternative to winner-takes-all is proportional representation (PR) Any political structure under which seats in the legislature are allocated to each party based on the percentage of the popular vote each receives.

an electoral system based on proportional representation, designed to ensure the representation of parties in the legislature approximates party support in the electorate. Usually, under this system, the nation is divided into multimember electoral districts, with a formula awarding each district’s seats in proportion to the fractions of the vote the various parties receive in that district. Among the many countries using this system are Israel, Italy, Belgium, Norway, and Ireland. Germany also uses proportional representation to elect half the members of the Bundestag (the lower house of parliament). Candidates in a district win office if they receive at least a specified number of votes, determined by dividing the number of votes cast by the number of seats allocated. For example, assume in Table 11.1 that a proportional representation system is in place, the district has been allocated three seats, and 60,000 votes have been cast. A representative will thus be elected for every 20,000 votes a party receives. According to this formula, candidates Liberal and Conservative would both be elected, because each received more than 20,000 votes.

Defining Participation

But no votes are wasted. The district’s third representative would be determined by a regional distribution, which works like this: 5,800 Democratic votes, 4,600 Republican votes, and 9,600 Independent votes are forwarded to the region, to be combined with other districts’ votes and reallocated. Where regional distributions fail to seat a candidate, a final national distribution may be necessary. In this manner, proportional representation guarantees that everyone’s vote will count. Some countries have modified this system to prevent the proliferation of small fringe parties, requiring that minor parties receive a certain minimum of the national vote to qualify for district representation. In Germany and Russia, this figure is 5 percent; in other countries, it can be 15 percent or even higher. The list system is by far the most common method of proportional representation in use. A party may run as many candidates as it wishes in any particular electoral district, but it must rank its candidates on the ballot. If the party receives enough votes in the district to win only one seat, the candidate ranked first on the list gets that seat; if the party garners enough votes to elect two delegates from that district, the candidate ranked second also gets a seat; and so on. The list system strengthens political parties significantly, because citizens vote primarily for the party (as opposed to the candidate), and the party controls the ordering of the candidates on the ballot. The Hare plan, one alternative to the list system, is based on a single, transferable vote and emphasizes individual candidates or personalities rather than parties. Voters indicate a first and second preference. A quota—the number of votes required to win a seat—is set, and when a candidate has met the quota, the remainder of votes cast for that candidate are transferred to the second preference on those ballots, and so on until all available seats have been awarded.

Electoral Systems Compared Proportional representation systems have certain advantages over the winner-takes-all method. Few votes are “wasted,” more parties can gain seats in the legislature, and fairness—to voters, candidates, and parties—is emphasized, because seats are apportioned according to the vote totals that each party actually receives. The winner-takes-all system has the advantage of stability. It effectively bars the door to upstart and single-issue splinter parties. It eliminates the need for coalition governments, because it stacks the deck in favor of two major parties. It also boils down choices for the voters, typically between two middle-of-theroad programs—one slightly center-right, the other slightly center-left.

Direct Democracy Voters can be legislators. Perhaps the most easily recognized model of direct democracy is the New England town hall meeting. By providing for elected representatives, however, the U.S. Constitution rejects the idea of a direct democracy in favor of a representative one. Today, direct democracy coexists with representational democracy in many places. In some democracies, such as Switzerland and Australia, as well as a number of U.S. states (see Figure 11.1), citizens can bypass or supersede the legislature by voting directly on specific questions of public policy in a plebiscite. In the United States, a plebiscite can take three forms, as illustrated in Figure 11.1.

335

list system Method of proportional representation by which candidates are ranked on the ballot by their party and are chosen according to rank. Hare plan In parliamentary democracies, an electoral procedure whereby candidates compete for a set number of seats and those who receive a certain quota of votes are elected. Voters vote only once and indicate both a first and a second choice. coalition government In a multiparty parliamentary system, the political situation in which no single party has a majority and the largest party allies itself loosely with other, smaller parties to control a majority of the legislative seats. plebiscite A vote by an entire community on some specific issue of public policy.

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Image not available due to copyright restrictions

referendum A vote through which citizens may directly repeal a law. initiative A mechanism by which voters act as legislators, placing a measure on the ballot by petition and directly deciding whether or not to make it a law on election day.

A referendum occurs when the state legislature or constitution refers a question of public policy to its voters. Sometimes the vote is merely advisory, indicating the electorate’s preferences; in other cases, voter approval is required before a ballot item can be enacted into law. In an initiative, the voters themselves put a measure on the ballot by filing petitions containing a stipulated number of valid signatures (see Box 11.3). The recall is a political device intended to remove an elected official from office. It works much like an initiative and is also placed on the ballot by the signatures of a predetermined number of citizens. Some major issues decided by direct vote in Europe include the following: • French President Charles de Gaulle used a referendum to amend the French constitution to provide for the direct election of the president (de Gaulle himself) in 1962.

Defining Participation

Box 11.3 FOCUS ON

337

Initiative and Referendum

There are two types of initiative—direct and indirect— and two types of referendum—popular and legislative. Legislative referendum is divided into two categories: amendments and statutes. Twenty-three states give their legislatures discretionary power to place statutes on the ballot. Delaware is the only state that does not require placement of constitutional amendments on the ballot. • Twenty-seven states have some form of initiative or popular referendum. • Twenty-four states have a form of initiative. • Twenty-four states have popular referendum. • Fifty states have some form of legislative referendum. • The first state to hold a legislative referendum to adopt its constitution was Massachusetts, in 1778.

• The first state to adopt the initiative and popular referendum was South Dakota, in 1898. • The first state to place an initiative on the ballot was Oregon, in 1904. • The first state to allow cities to use initiative and popular referendum was Nebraska, in 1897. • The first state to provide for initiative and popular referendum in its original constitution was Oklahoma, in 1907. • Four states have adopted initiative or popular referendum since 1958. SOURCE: Adapted from Initiative and Referendum Institute, “Quickfacts,” http://www.iandrinstitute.org/ factsheets/quickfacts.htm.

• The United Kingdom held its first referendum in 1973 to decide whether the nation should join the Common Market (a narrow majority voted in favor). • Denmark, Ireland, and Sweden, among others, have put issues such as whether to join the euro area—the EU countries that have adopted the euro—on the ballot. (It was rejected by Danish voters, but Denmark plans to hold another referendum on it; Irish voters said yes, and Swedish voters said no.) • Direct popular vote in several Central and East European countries determined whether they would join the European Union. (All countries invited said yes.) We can trace the modern era of direct democracy in the United States to 1978 and California’s passage of the famous Proposition 13, which not only halved property taxes there but also spurred many initiatives and referendums throughout the nation. Many direct democracy measures remain controversial. In 1996 Proposition 209, a California Civil Rights Initiative, limited affirmative action programs by amending the state’s constitution to prohibit discrimination against, or preferential treatment of, “any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” Opponents of the initiative challenged the new law in federal court on grounds it was unconstitutional, but they lost. Michigan voters passed a similar amendment in 2006.

recall Direct voting to remove an elected official from office. euro area In the EU, the euro zone refers to the 12 member states that have adopted the euro, including Germany, France, and Italy, but not the United Kingdom.

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Even more controversial is Proposition 8, another California ballot initiative—passed in the November 4, 2008, general election—that amended the state Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples and eliminate same-sex couples’ right to marry. The “yes” vote overrode portions of a California Supreme Court decision affirming marriage as a fundamental right earlier in 2008. Direct democracy is often championed as a means of revitalizing public faith in government, improving voter participation, and circumventing corrupt, cowardly, or incompetent officeholders.5 Opponents argue that money and special interests can too easily engineer the outcome of an initiative or referendum. They also say ballot measures are often so complex and technical, the average voter cannot understand the issues. At least one student of plebiscites disagrees: “On most issues, especially well-publicized ones, voters do grasp the meaning . . . and . . . they act competently.”6 For opponents to argue that money distorts the outcome of referendums is disingenuous at best. Money is arguably the major factor in virtually all U.S. elections of any consequence today, so it follows that such critics ought to focus on the role of money in U.S. politics, not in plebiscites (direct democracy). Still, too much democracy can perhaps be as bad as too little; if all laws had to be put to a vote of all the people all the time, government could never act quickly or expeditiously, even in a crisis or national emergency. When measures are numerous and issues complex, the opportunity for demagoguery grows, and the possibility of rational voter choice diminishes. For these reasons, direct democracy is, at best, a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, representative democracy.

RATIONALIZING PARTICIPATION: WHY VOTE? The right to vote is not a foolproof defense against tyranny and oppression, but it is the best one available. Yet later generations often take for granted rights earlier generations won at a very dear price. The United States offers no exception.

Voting in the United States Most voting-age U.S. adults do not bother to vote in midterm elections (when there is no presidential race). Even in presidential races, voter turnout has often been low by comparison with many European democracies. In 1996, a presidential election year, fewer than half voted (see Figure 11.2); by contrast in the 1960 KennedyNixon election, nearly 63 percent of the adult population voted. In recent elections, however, turnout has climbed back up but still remains well below 60 percent. In 2000, a slightly larger turnout in Florida (where less than half the voting age population cast a ballot) might have changed the outcome—and the course of U.S. history (see Box 11.4). In the hotly contested 2004 presidential election

Rationalizing Participation: Why Vote?

339

FIGURE 11.2 Voter Turnout in U.S. National Elections 1996–2008. Color indicates presidential election years. Source: Federal Election Commission. Data drawn from Congressional Research Service reports, Election Data Services Inc., and state election offices.

Voter turnout

Voting-age turnout

NA

132,618,580

56.8%

220,600,000

135,889,600

80,588,000

37.1%

2004

221,256,931

174,800,000

122,294,978

55.3%

2002

215,473,000

150,990,598

79,830,119

37.0%

2000

205,815,000

156,421,311

105,586,274

51.3%

1998

200,929,000

141,850,558

73,117,022

36.4%

1996

196,511,000

146,211,960

96,456,345

49.1%

Year

Voting age

2008

231,229,580

2006

Voter registration

(George W. Bush vs. John Kerry), as the electorate became polarized over the war in Iraq, voter turnout climbed to 55 percent and in 2008 reached nearly 57 percent, the highest since 1968. Midterm elections provide another measure of voting behavior in the United States. In general, turnout is dismal in these years (see Figure 11.3). Even in the highly charged 2006 midterm elections, only 37 percent of the voting age population turned out at the polls. Compared with other democracies, voter turnout in the United States is an embarrassment.7 In Europe, voter participation in national elections typically averages over 80 percent. Imagine a U.S. presidential election with an 85 percent voter turnout—that was the actual turnout in France in April 2007. The low participation is an enigma, because it has occurred against a backdrop of changes that ought to have brought voters to the polls. Laws and rules designed to block or burden access to the ballot, such as poll taxes, literacy tests, and lengthy residence requirements, are gone. The voting age has dropped to 18. The potential for virtually all U.S. adults to vote now exists.8 Moreover, since passage of the motor voter law in 1993, new voters can register while obtaining or renewing their driver’s licenses. In sum, low voter participation flies in the face of “broad changes in the population [that] have boosted levels of education, income, and occupation, all associated with enhanced rates of turnout.”9 Who votes and who does not are key questions in any democracy (see Box 11.4). Perhaps even more important, however, is the question many nonvoters ask: Why bother? Unless the defenders of democracy can continue to give them a meaningful answer, there is always a danger that liberty itself will lose its hold on the popular imagination. People who believe it is possible to make a difference, who are confident self-confident and assertive, are more likely to become engaged in public affairs, including political activity, than people who lack these attributes. Why then do

motor voter law A statute that allows residents of a given locality to register to vote at convenient places, such as welfare offices and drivers’ license bureaus; the idea behind laws of this kind is to remove technical obstacles to voting and thus promote better turnouts in elections.

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Box 11.4 FOCUS ON

Political Participation

Who Decides Who Gets to Vote?

The 2000 presidential election came down to 537 official votes separating the “winner” (Bush) from the “loser” (Al Gore) in one state, Florida, where the chief election official, Katherine Harris, was also co-chair of the Florida Bush campaign. In that race, thousands of Florida voters were “wrongly purged” according to the New York Times.* Florida was the most notorious case of voting list irregularities in the 2000 election, but it was not the only one, nor was it the most egregious. The New York Times cited another example: In Missouri, St. Louis, election officials kept an “inactive voters list” of people they had been unable to contact by mail. Voters on the list, which ballooned to more than 54,000 names in a city where only 125,230 voted, had a legal right to cast their ballots, but election officials put up enormous barriers. When inactive voters showed up to vote, poll workers had to confirm their registration with the board of elections downtown. Phone lines there were busy all day, and hundreds of voters travelled downtown in person, spending hours trying to vindicate their right to vote. The board admitted later that “a significant number” were not processed before the polls closed.

The same thing that happened in Florida and Missouri in 2000 could happen elsewhere. According to the New York Times, “Voters would have no way of knowing [if there was a problem] because of the stunning lack of transparency in election operations.” Election board officials often make decisions about removing voters from the rolls without any written rules or procedures. The power to decide who gets to vote has both social and political implications. In both Florida and St. Louis, disenfranchised voters were disproportionately black. In Florida, African Americans are one of the strongest Democratic voting groups. What is to be done? The New York Times recommends a three-step remedy: (1) clear standards—the policy for purging voting lists ought to be based on clear, written guidelines; (2) transparency—the public has a right to know when voting list purges are under way; and (3) non-partisanship—election board officials should not be connected to candidates or parties. *Editorial, “How America Doesn’t Vote,” New York Times, February 15, 2004,

some people lack a sense of political efficacy and why do so many U.S. adults not even vote?

political efficacy The ability to participate meaningfully in political activities, usually because of one’s education, social background, and sense of self-esteem.

Patterns of Participation It is ironic that U.S. adults take such pride in being citizens of the world’s oldest democracy, because most of us are public-affairs averse. A pioneering 1950 study by Julian L. Woodward and Elmo Roper revealed that about 70 percent of U.S. adults were politically inactive.10 A later study found approximately 26 percent of the U.S. population could be classified as activists; the rest either limited participation to voting or avoided politics altogether.11

Rationalizing Participation: Why Vote?

341

FIGURE 11.3 U.S. Midterm Election Turnout, 1962–2006, based on House Votes Cast (percentage of voting-age population). SOURCE: Adapted from Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, February 23, 1991, p. 484; and the United States Elections Project, Department of Public and International Affairs, George Mason University, http://elections.gmu.edu/Voter_Turnout_2006.htm.

Percent of Voting-Age Population

50 46.3% 45

45.4% 43.5%

40 38.7%

37.6%

36.2%

35.8%

37%

36.0%

35

34.5%

33.4% 33.0%

30 1962

1966

1970

1974

1978

1982

1986

1990

1994

1998

2002

2006

The voter turnout rate in midterm elections remains low. It fell abruptly after the voting age was lowered to 18 in 1971 and has trended downward, with a mild reversal in the recession year of 1982 and a significant upturn in 1994. In Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana (where only one district was decided in November), the turnout rate did not reach 20 percent. In only four states did a majority of the voting-age population participate in voting for the House: Maine (55.6 percent), Minnesota (54.8 percent), Montana (54.6 percent), and Alaska (52.5 percent).

Who votes in the United States? According to U.S. census data, women are more likely to vote than men, and whites more likely than blacks or Hispanics. People over 65 are much more likely to vote than young adults 18–24. Midwesterners are more likely to vote than people in the South or West. People with a college education vote more than people who never finished high school, and white-collar workers vote more than blue-collar workers. Clearly, socioeconomic factors affect participation rates. The 2008 general election, however, saw a marked difference in certain voting patterns. Minorities and youth voted in record numbers. African Americans cast nearly 3 million more ballots in 2008 than in 2004 (up 21 percent); 1.5 million more Latinos voted in 2008 than in 2004 (up 16 percent); and the youth vote (aged 18–29) climbed by 1.8 million votes (a 9 percent rise). The 2008 election was “the most diverse in U.S. history;” black women had the highest voter turnout rate (68.8 percent)—a first.12 Generational factors are increasingly important in U.S. elections. In the last three general elections—2004, 2006, and 2008—voters 18–29 have been “the Democratic party’s most supportive age group. In 2008, 66% of those under age 30 voted for Barack Obama, making the disparity between young voters

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and other age groups larger than in any presidential election since exit polling began in 1972.”13 Until recently, some observers blamed low voter turnout rates on the 1971 lowering of the voting age to 18, which brought into the electorate a group long thought not to vote. But this simplistic explanation overlooks potential voters’ attitudes—for example a sense that wealthy elites (mostly white males) run things anyway, or a feeling of powerlessness among middle-class voters. There is evidence of a declining sense of civic duty in the general population. Lengthy political campaigns dull the senses and the blizzard of negative television ads deepen public disillusion. Finally, the gap between the rich and the rest of the population is growing, as the former take an ever larger share of national income and the tax burden is increasingly shifted onto the latter—a divisive trend that the Wall Street collapse and its aftermath in 2008 only accentuated.14 If the elections that followed in November 2008 are any indication, this gap— and the economic injustice it implies—is becoming a factor in boosting voter turnout.

Private Pursuits and the Public Good

individualism According to Alexis de Tocqueville, the direction of one’s feelings toward oneself and one’s immediate situation; a self-centered detachment from the broader concerns of society as a whole. According to John Stuart Mill, the qualities of human character that separate humans from animals and give them uniqueness and dignity.

In the 1830s, French writer Alexis de Tocqueville observed that wherever a widespread belief in equality exists, and established sources of moral instruction like religion, family, monarchy, and tradition fail to carry the weight they once did, individuals tend to be morally self-reliant. For Tocqueville the resulting individualism was the moral equivalent of selfishness. “Individualism,” he wrote, “is a mature and calm feeling, which disposes each member of the community to sever himself from the mass of his fellow creatures; and to draw apart with his family and friends; so that, after he has thus formed a little circle of his own, he willingly leaves the society at large to itself.”15 Tocqueville’s America was so populated by self-centered individuals that concern for the common good was in danger of extinction. In a society where success is defined as “keeping up with the Joneses,” the people live in a state of constant agitation arising from personal ambitions. Thus, he noted, “In America the passion for physical well-being . . . is felt by all” and “the desire of acquiring the good things of this world is the prevailing passion of the American people.”16 Tocqueville thought the detrimental effects of individualism were counteracted, to some extent, by the fact that in the United States, people belonged to an enormous number and variety of civic associations. These associations expanded the personal horizon of the average citizen while reinforcing democracy’s underpinnings, encouraging social cooperation, and teaching respect for others’ opinions. But participation in group activities of all kinds has declined in the United States. Observing that the number of bowlers had increased 10 percent whereas league bowling decreased 40 percent between 1980 and 1993, Robert Putnam concluded in the mid-1990s that bowling symbolized life as we know it in the United States.17 Putnam also pointed out that participation in organized religion, labor unions, the

Rationalizing Participation: Why Vote?

343

PTA, traditional women’s groups such as the League of Women Voters, and service clubs, such as the Shriners and Masons, had declined during the past 30 years, as had volunteering. The implications are an eroding sense of community and a tendency to withdraw from public affairs. Inevitably, civil society is the loser. In April 2009, President Obama signed a new national service bill into law. The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act dedicates $5.7 billion over five years to promoting volunteerism. It reauthorizes and expands national service programs run by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency created in 1993 that already engages four million volunteers each year, including 75,000 AmeriCorps members. Under the new law, this number will to rise by 250,000. AmeriCorps volunteers will receive a living allowance ($12,000 for 10 to 12 months of work) and staff programs for poor people, veterans, the environment, healthcare, and education. Whether a new federal program to tackle a problem Tocqueville identified as a national trait so long ago can change a society set in its ways remains to be seen. But the fact that we are talking about spending billions of dollars to revive a sense of civic responsibility points to the persistence—and seriousness—of the problem.

Affluence and Apathy Political apathy and indifference, expressed as a surprising lack of curiosity about what is going on in Washington or the world, persisted in the United States even after 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. But that changed dramatically in 2008 when the financial crisis suddenly jeopardized the fortunes and future of millions of U.S. workers with investments in mutual funds and retirement plans. What it says about human nature when we are more concerned about our wallets than our wars is an interesting question, but not one we will try to answer here. Apparently, however, most of us believe we can afford to be nonchalant about politics, so long as we ourselves are not insecure or oppressed. In other words, political apathy is a luxury. Only in an affluent and stable society do people take the right to vote for granted or treat it as a trivial thing. Political apathy is not necessarily a sign of decay or impending doom. The United States has functioned as a stable political system with a robust economy in spite of low voter turnout. When people who are normally apathetic suddenly begin to express high anxiety about politics, however, usually all is not well. In the 1850s, for example, apathy gave way to antipathy between North and South over slavery and states’ rights, leading to secession and the Civil War. In the 1930s, the Great Depression galvanized the nation. Today, the deepest recession since the 1930s has banished our apathy. In sum, participation is not always a good thing. But neither is apathy. If the only time we take a keen interest in politics is when we are personally affected, if our only motive is self-interest as opposed to the public interest or the common good, that points to a serious defect in our national character—one that, over time, will manifest itself in undesirable ways. Try explaining what went wrong on Wall Street in August 2008, for example, without mentioning greed.

political apathy Lack of interest in politics resulting from complacency, ignorance, or the conviction that “my vote doesn’t really count” or “nobody cares what I think anyway.”

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BOX 11.5 SPOTLIGHT ON

Political Participation

Australia’s Mandatory Voting Law

bases and ideological extremes. Consequently, important, complicated issues (pension and health-care reform) get short shrift.” Norm Ornstein is a scholar in residence at the American Enterprise Institute and the coauthor (with Thomas Mann) of The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). SOURCE: Norm Ornstein, “Vote—Or Else,” New York Times, August 10, 2006 (online edition).

FIGURE 11.4 Australia is a continent as well as a country that is roughly the size of the “lower 48” (the continental United States minus Alaska). It is a parliamentary democracy with a mandatory voting requirement.

PA PUA NEW GUINEA

I NDONESIA EAST Aratura Sea TIMOR Timor Sea Darwin Gull of Carpentara

B

Calms

Coral Sea

r ann i e

INDIAN OCEAN

Gre a t

To wnsville

Re ef

Noted scholar and political observer Norm Ornstein wants to make voting mandatory in the United States. He believes lower turnout is the cause of “ever-greater polarization in the country and in Washington, which in turn has led to evermore rancor and ever-less legislative progress.” He makes a persuasive case: With participation rates of about 10 percent or less of the eligible electorate in many primaries, to 35 percent or so in midterm general elections, to 50 or 60 percent in presidential contests, the name of the game for parties is turnout—the key to success is turning out one’s ideological base. Whichever party does a better job getting its base to the polls reaps the rewards of majority status. And what’s the best way to get your base to show up at the polls? Focus on divisive issues that underscore the differences between the parties. Ornstein points out that several countries, including Austria, Belgium, and Cyprus, as well as Australia and Singapore, have adopted mandatory voting. In Australia (see Figure 11.4), “noshows” at the polls pay a modest fine of about $15 the first time and more with each subsequent offense. The result: a turnout rate greater than 95 percent. “The fine, of course, is an incentive to vote. But the system has also instilled the idea that voting is a societal obligation.” No less important, “It has elevated the political dialogue,” and it places a premium on “persuading the persuadables.” Ornstein surmises, “If there were mandatory voting in America, there’s a good chance that the ensuing reduction in extremist discourse would lead to genuine legislative progress.” But, he argues, political reform is urgent: “These days, valuable congressional time is spent on frivolous or narrow issues (flag burning, same-sex marriage) that are intended only to spur on the party

Port Hedland Dampier

Mackay Alice Springs Gladstone

Lake Eyre

Perth Fremantle

Brisbane

Adelaide

Newcastle Sydney

CANBERRA Great Australian Melbourne Bight INDIAN OCEAN 0 0

300 600 km 300

600 mi

Launceston Ta smania

Mount Kosciuszko

Tasman Sea Hobart

Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island not shown

Participating as a Spectator: Outsiders

345

A steady and sober interest in public affairs stemming from a well-ingrained sense of civic duty is a healthy antidote to excessive individualism—and a far better solution to the problem of apathy than an aroused but ignorant majority (see Box 11.5).

PARTICIPATING AS A SPECTATOR: OUTSIDERS In the competitive “game” of politics (see Box 11.6), outsiders—most of us—are at a disadvantage—not least because we do not understand the game very well. One study in the 1990s found nearly half of respondents did not know the Supreme Court has final authority to determine whether a law is constitutional, while three of four were unaware senators serve 6-year terms.18 Can democracy work if the majority—the outsiders—do not know how it works? Some feel the debate is much ado about nothing. First, whereas only a minority of the voting-age population votes, those who do vote generally are better informed than are those who do not. Second, U.S. adults as a whole probably know as much about politics today as they did in the 1940s.19 Third, many find it more worthwhile to engage in private pursuits and leave politics to others.20 Fourth, candidates often take no clear political stance, so many citizens may wonder, What’s the point? Finally, many voters make reasonable judgments about issues and candidates despite being poorly informed.21 According to a theory called low-information rationality, ill-informed voters use shortcuts (for example, does a candidate look the part?) and simplifying assumptions (such as party identification) to make political judgments.22 This theory assumes picking a candidate for office is like buying a car. But when voters go to the polls, they have a far narrower range of choices than car buyers and far less information about the “product”—problems that can be fixed only by elected representatives, who unfortunately often have a vested interest in not fixing them. Why do supposedly rational voters almost always reelect incumbents while mistrusting Congress as an institution? According to rational actor theory (which holds that human behavior is a product of logical reasoning rather than emotion or habit), they are “voting for the devil they know rather than the devil they don’t” and for representatives with seniority who have proven they can produce “pork” (federal funding) for local projects. Enlightened or not, this type of voting behavior is rational in the short term and on the local level. The dilemma for democracy arises from the fact that “comfort zone” voting is not necessarily rational in the aggregate or in the long run—that is, on the national level, where the big-picture decisions, laws, and policies are made.

low-information rationality The idea that voters can make sensible choices in elections even though they lack knowledge and sophistication about public policy, candidates, and current events.

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Box 11.6 FOCUS ON

Political Participation

Wallets and Wars: Is Politics a Game?

Game theory treats politics as a game—not like Trivial Pursuit, but as an analytical tool. To say voters are spectators is not to deny they participate in the process. Fans at basketball games, for example, are spectators, but they also “vote” in various ways—from buying tickets to cheering or booing. At college games, fans at the visitors’ end of the court often try to distract the freethrow shooter. It is doubtful whether a “home

court” would exist without spectators. In fact, there might be no home court at all. Finally, some games have very high stakes—from big wallets to big wars. In sum, although outsiders (rankand-file citizens) are not directly involved in the “game” most of the time, insiders (political elites) cannot ignore them; by the same token, because decisions made by the few directly affect the many, outsiders cannot afford to be ignored.

PARTICIPATING AS A PLAYER: INSIDERS

elitist theory of democracy In political thought, the theory that a small clique of individuals (a ‘‘power elite’’) at the highest levels of government, industry, and other institutions actually exercise political power for their own interests; according to elitist theories, ordinary citizens have almost no real influence on governmental policy.

Some say a power elite controls the political process from top to bottom. The most popular version of this theory holds that ordinary citizens never exercise much influence, elections and public opinion polls notwithstanding, and the political system is manipulated from above rather than below. The manipulators are the power elite, a small group of individuals who go through a “revolving door” between the commanding heights of industry and the rarefied echelons of government, exercising enormous power over the nation’s destiny. The status, wealth, and power of this self-perpetuating political class ensure that access to the levers of government is monopolized by the few to pursue private interests, not the public interest. The close links between personal business interests of the Bush family and the oil industry gave new credence to this theory (especially after the ill-fated invasion of Iraq), as did the fact that Halliburton, the huge multinational corporation formerly headed by Vice President Cheney, was awarded billions of dollars in no-bid contracts to operate in Iraq.

Elitist Theories: Iron Laws and Ironies Elitist theories of democracy hold that democracy is governed by neither the voters nor public opinion nor a variety of competing interests, but rather by a small number of wealthy individuals. This theory was propounded most influentially in the 1950s by sociologist C. Wright Mills.23 By putting the power elite in the spotlight, Mills challenged the idea of “government by the people” and called into serious question whether it exists (or has ever existed) in the United States. Robert Michels, a German sociologist, also advanced a theory of elitism, but his study applied to all modern bureaucratic organizations. His findings

Participating as a Player: Insiders

were distilled from an analysis of the German Social Democratic Party, which before the outbreak of World War I had been the largest socialist party in the world. Michels reasoned that because the party favored equality in wealth and status, it should be sufficiently committed to democratic principles to put them into practice. He found instead that elite groups that derived their power and authority from well-honed organizational skills ran the party. This discovery led Michels to postulate his famous iron law of oligarchy, which holds that all large organizations, including governments, are run in the same fashion. He believed organizations naturally become increasingly oligarchic, bureaucratized, and centralized over time, as those at the top gain more information and knowledge, greater control of communications, and sharper organizational skills, while the great mass of members (or citizens) remain politically unsophisticated, preoccupied with private affairs, and bewildered by the complexity of larger issues. According to this view, the people, for whose benefit democratic institutions were originally conceived, are inevitably shut out of the political or organizational process as corporate officers or bureaucratic officials govern in the name of the rank-and-file shareholder or citizen. In elitist theories, democracy is seen as a sham or a myth: it does not matter what the people think, say, or do, because they have no real influence over public policy. If most people believe public opinion matters, it is only because they are naive and do not really understand how “the system” works. Most believe “democracy for the few” violates the very essence of government by consent, but a few theorists have argued the U.S. political system is dominated by the privileged few, and that we are all much better off for it because the people as a whole are unfit to govern themselves. The “masses are authoritarian, intolerant, anti-intellectual, atavistic, alienated, hateful, and violent.”24 The irony of democracy is then clear: allowing the people real power to rule will only result in the expression of antidemocratic preferences and policies.

Pluralists Versus Elitists The chief opponents of the elitist school of thought are known as pluralists. Pluralists and elitists alike accept that in any society there are gradations of power and certain groups or individuals exercise disproportionate influence. They disagree, however, about the basic nature of the political system itself. According to pluralists, the U.S. political system is intricate and decentralized. They concede that various organized interest groups, by concentrating all their energies, resources, and attention on one issue, exert disproportionate influence in that specific policy area. They also admit that from time to time certain disadvantaged or unpopular groups may not be adequately represented. Nonetheless, no single individual or group can exercise total power over the whole gamut of public policy. The political system is too wide open, freewheeling, and institutionally fragmented to allow for any such accumulation of power. In the opinion of one prominent pluralist,

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iron law of oligarchy According to this theory, the administrative necessities involved in managing any large organization, access to and control of information and communication inevitably become concentrated in the hands of a few bureaucrats, who then wield true power in the organization.

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© JENNIFER GRAYLOCK/AP PHOTO

Demonstrators demand universal health care at a recent ACT UP rally in New York City.

The most important obstacle to social change in the United States, then, is not the concentration of power but its diffusion. . . . If power was concentrated sufficiently, those of us who wish for change would merely have to negotiate with those who hold the power and, if necessary, put pressure on them. But power is so widely diffused that, in many instances, there is no one to negotiate with and no one on whom to put pressure.25 Pluralists do not deny that those who hold the highest positions in government and business tend to have similar backgrounds and characteristics: Admittedly, many are males from well-to-do WASP (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) families who have had Ivy League educations. However, that wealth, status, and education correlate closely with political influence and participation does not prove the system is closed and public policy predetermined, nor does it mean participatory democracy is a sham. Power is diffused, and there are many opportunities to exert political pressure at the local, state, and national levels. The public interest— defined as the aggregation of private interests—is generally better served under constitutional democracy than under any other system. So say the pluralists. There is more than a grain of truth in elitist theory, as the concentration of wealth in the United States, with its market economy and business-friendly tax system, attests. Nonetheless, public policies have been affected by public opinion. Widespread and steadily growing popular sentiment against the Vietnam War was instrumental in pressuring the government to withdraw from that conflict. In 2006, growing opposition to the war in Iraq cost the Republicans control of the Congress. Public opinion in the United States is often fragmented, but that does not render it nonexistent or irrelevant. Whether elections are meaningful or the outcomes rational, however, are very different questions (ones we will take up later in this chapter).

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PARTICIPATION AND POLITICAL PARTIES Only when the voice of the citizenry is magnified many times is it likely to be heard in a process that political scientists sometimes call interest aggregation. Political parties and interest groups are two types of structures capable of performing this aggregation function. Their effectiveness in a particular society depends in large part on how much the government protects political and civil rights and is responsive to the demands of the people. The purpose of a political party is to select, nominate, and support candidates for elective office. Political parties have become permanent fixtures in all liberal democracies, including the United States.

American Democracy: No Place for a Party? The Constitution makes no mention of political parties; some Founders abhorred them. George Washington sought to avoid partisanship by forming a cabinet composed of the best available talent, including Thomas Jefferson as secretary of state and Alexander Hamilton as secretary of the treasury. Washington’s noble attempt to avoid partisan politics ultimately failed. Personal animosities developed between Jefferson and Hamilton, in large part due to conflicting understandings of government and public policy, and the two became fierce rivals. In the late 1790s, Jefferson and his followers founded a loosely organized Republican Party to oppose the strong anti-French policies of Federalists such as Hamilton and John Adams. Yet in 1789, Jefferson himself had written, “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”26 Why did so many statesmen of Jefferson’s generation distrust political parties? In Jefferson’s case, dislike stemmed from a peculiarly American brand of individualism that has survived to this day. “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself,” he observed, concluding that “such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.”27 Other thinkers of Jefferson’s generation believed political parties fostered narrow self-interest at the expense of the general or public interest. They saw parties as the public extension of private selfishness. Only gradually did partisanship in U.S. politics lose this stigma. Even so, the sense that it is a necessary evil persists—witness constant but empty calls for a “bipartisan” approach to legislation in Congress, often by the very politicians who are the most uncompromising.

General Aims Political parties strive to gain or retain political power; in practical terms, this means capturing control of the government. Because voters decide who rules,

interest aggregation A term political scientists use to describe how the interests, concerns, and demands of various individuals and groups in society are translated into policies and programs; in constitutional democracies, a major function of political parties. political party Any group of individuals who agree on basic political principles, have shared interests, and on that basis organize to win control of government.

recall Direct voting to remove an elected official from office. euro area In the EU, the euro zone refers to the 12 member states that have adopted the euro, including Germany, France, and Italy, but not the United Kingdom.

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political parties concentrate on winning elections, but they also engage citizens as volunteers, recruit candidates, raise money, and launch media campaigns. In the party platform, proposals and policies are formulated to appease key interest groups, which, in turn, support the party’s candidates with money and votes. In the United States, candidates frequently appeal for votes by promising to deliver on bread-and-butter issues rather than taking strong stands on ideological issues or advancing bold domestic and foreign policy proposals. The idea is to build a consensus around a vague set of principles rather than detailed policies. The presidential candidate perceived to be closest to the political center is usually elected. An alternative is to offer voters clear alternatives, which is how elections are structured in most democratic countries—and how the Obama campaign won in 2008. In Europe, multiple parties vie for votes and each formulates more or less distinctive policy alternatives. Party platforms are much more important than the personal popularity of individual candidates, because parties in parliamentary systems seek to capture and maintain a majority of seats in the parliament (see Chapter 7). There is obviously a premium on party discipline because the stakes are so high.

One-Party Dominant Systems one-party dominant One-party dominant systems are different from authoritarian one-party systems in that they hold regular elections, allow open criticism of the government, and do not outlaw other parties; until recently, Japan operated as a one-party dominant system, as did Mexico; South Africa is one current example.

Examples of one-party dominant systems include Mexico (the Institutional Revolutionary Party) until 2000, Japan (the Liberal Democratic Party) since the mid-1950s, post-independence India (the Congress), Taiwan (the Nationalist Party), and the U.S. Deep South (the Democratic party) for nearly a century after the Civil War. One-party dominant systems resemble the one-party systems found in authoritarian states, but they hold regular elections, allow open criticism of the government, and do not outlaw other parties. However, the line between authoritarian and democratic rule is not always clear. In Mexico, the Institutional Revolutionary Party long maintained its dominant position through corruption, intimidation, and voting fraud. One-party dominant systems invite official interference in elections— including ballot box stuffing and other blatantly unfair practices. A virtual monopoly of political power encourages cozy arrangements among business leaders, bankers, entrenched bureaucrats, and top government officials. Thus, opposition parties have challenged single-party domination in Mexico, Japan, and Taiwan in recent years by campaigning on a “clean government” platform. Japanese voters were reminded in the spring of 2009 that corruption is not confined to the dominant party. The political secretary of Ichiro Ozawa, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, was indicted “for accepting illegal funds from a construction company with a history of lining politicians’ pockets.”28 Until this scandal hit the newsstands in Japan, Ozawa’s party appeared poised to win the upcoming general election, which would

Participation and Political Parties

have upended a political system that has kept the Liberal Democratic Party in power—with one brief interruption—for more than half a century.

Competitive Party Systems Under a two-party system, the vast majority of voters support one major party or the other, very few independents or minor party candidates ever win an election, and the opposition party is constitutionally protected from undue interference or intimidation by the government. In multiparty systems no political party is always in the majority; in any given election, any one of several parties may emerge with the largest number of seats, although often with less than an absolute majority. One key advantage of two-party systems is political and governmental stability (the United States and the United Kingdom are prime examples). To some extent, continuity is ensured by the system itself, as the two major parties keep to the middle of the road to appeal to a broad range of middle-class interests. The dynamic in multiparty systems is very different. Compromise on principles or consensus-seeking is less common and candidates take definite stands on issues of the day. The multiparty system sounds strange to those in the United States, but it is second nature to Europeans. It offers voters a wide range of choice, though it sometimes leads to unstable governments, as Italy in the postWorld War II era demonstrated.

The Architecture of Democracy Political parties allow citizen participation; they are thus an important part of the architecture of democracy. But this architecture is not entirely accidental—in fact, party systems reflect electoral systems. That is, the rules governing elections, sometimes spelled out in a constitution, limit the number of political parties that can exist and thus shape the choices available to voters. The success of minor parties is discouraged in systems based on single-member districts, where any candidate with a one-vote advantage (a plurality) wins the only available seat. Smaller parties find it difficult to attract voters simply because their candidates have such a small chance of winning. By contrast, in PR systems, where several candidates are elected from each district, minor parties enjoy a far greater chance of being elected. Thus, to repeat a key point, proportional representation is far more likely than the first-past-the-post system to produce a multiparty political system. Another structural consideration is whether the political system is centralized or decentralized. Parties in federal systems organize themselves along the federal structure of the government. In the United States vote totals in presidential elections are determined nationally but counted (and weighted) state by state in winner-take-all contests. Thus George W. Bush won the 2000 election despite the fact that Al Gore received more total votes nationwide. U.S. presidential candidates, and the political parties they lead, face the challenge of winning not one election, but 50. And though the United States has only two major parties,

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50 state parties exist alongside each national party. Historically, the Democratic Party in Massachusetts has borne little resemblance to the Democratic Party in Mississippi, for example. Strong state-level party organizations help elect senators, representatives, and state and local officials. Structural factors are thus clearly important, but culture also influences a nation’s form of government and the party system it adopts. Multiparty systems are most likely to thrive in countries that value ideology and group solidarity over compromise and stability.

Is the Party Over? Many in the United States say neither major party any longer reflects the realities of U.S. life and society.29 Others see the parties as evidence of a failed political system. The very idea of party politics or partisanship has sometimes come into conflict with the ideal of democracy. At the same time, however, participatory democracy is here to stay. State primary elections, once the exception, have become the rule. States now compete to hold the earliest primaries. (The elections themselves have become a bonanza for some states, attracting revenue and wide media attention.) Other states hold party caucuses, where rank-and-file party members choose delegates who later attend state conventions that, in turn, select delegates pledged to support particular candidates at the party’s national convention. Such reforms make the average citizen at least feel a part of the party’s nominating process and diminish the power of both state party and national party regulars. But there is a downside: U.S. presidential campaigns are costly and prolonged; the nomination and election process can last well over a year. (British parliamentary elections often last less than a month and cost a tiny fraction of what U.S. elections cost.) Fund-raising is a full-time endeavor, not only for presidential hopefuls but also for serious candidates in Senate and House races, prompting cynics to remark that U.S. elections have become nonstop events. No other liberal democracy in the world spends so much time and treasure choosing its chief executive. Parties play a role in elections, but money plays a far bigger role. Where do candidates turn for financial backing? Next we look at the role of interest groups in contemporary U.S. politics.

interest group An association of individuals that attempts to influence policy and legislation in a confined area of special interest, often through lobbying, campaign contributions, and bloc voting.

PARTICIPATION AND INTEREST GROUPS Interest groups do not seek direct control over government nor do they recruit, nominate, and elect public officials. Instead, they concentrate on influencing legislation, policy, and programs in specific areas of special interest, including corporate taxes and subsidies for big business, banking regulations, farm subsidies, federal aid to education, or wildlife conservation, to name a few. Interest groups are also known as special interests, lobbies, pressure groups, and advocacy groups.

Participation and Interest Groups

One way to categorize interest groups is to distinguish between those that represent special interests and those that represent the public interest. The Audubon Society, the Aspen Institute, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, The Fund for Peace, Worldwatch Institute, and the Earth Policy Institute are examples of familiar public interest advocacy groups in the United States. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, with more than a million members, is the largest advocacy group in Europe. The focus of public interest groups is often very broad, for example the environment or human rights. Such groups promote causes they believe will benefit society as a whole. The Sierra Club, for example, lobbies for environmental causes and conservation policies. Although not everyone agrees with its goals, no one can accuse its members of pursuing narrow self-interest; all citizens benefit from clean air and pure water. Interest groups differ not only in the issues they emphasize, but also in scope. Most ethnic groups (the National Italian American Foundation, for example), religious groups (the American Jewish Congress), occupational groups (the American Association of University Professors), age-defined groups (AARP), and a variety of groups that cannot be easily categorized (such as the Disabled American Veterans) are narrowly focused. Each fights for laws and policies that benefit the exclusive group it represents—for private rather than the public interest. One common classification scheme distinguishes four basic types of interest groups.30 • Associational interest groups have a distinctive name, national headquarters, professional staff, a